Reading is not a city

Published: 14 Mar 2012 10:0017 comments

Reading has missed out on city status for the third time. The cabinet office announced this morning it has awarded the civic honour to Chelmsford, Perth in Scotland and St Asaph in Wales.

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Reading has missed out on city status for the third time.

The cabinet office announced this morning it has awarded the civic honour to Chelmsford, Perth in Scotland and St Asaph in Wales.

Reading East MP Rob Wilson said: "I want to see Reading deliver as technically a city.

"To do this it needs ultrafast broadband, not just the super fast upgrade we are all getting as part of the Government's current roll out plan (which is excellent for most areas). I'm working on delivering the money to do it.

"So delivery of skills, technology and transport are my three big priorities to ensure that Reading confirms and enhances its place as the economic powerhouse of the Thames Valley. A 'city' to be proud of."

False hopes were raised when BBC Berkshrie Radio began reporting that Reading had won the accolade - ahead of the offical announcement.

The news will be a relief to the bookies who had Reading as odds-on favourite right the way through the submission period.

William Hill had Reading as 10/11 favourite, with St Asaph at 33/1, Chelmsford was 18/1 and Perth at 8/1.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "The standard of application was very high, and those who missed out should not be downhearted.

"I hope the competition has given the residents of all of the places which applied a sense of civic pride, of collective ownership and of community spirit."

"The Queen formally confers the titles of city status and Lord Mayoralty by Letters Patent in due course.

"The awards of city status and Lord Mayoralty or Provostship are purely honorific and confer no additional powers, functions or funding."

The last civic honours competition was held in 2002 to mark the Golden Jubilee when Preston, Stirling, Newport, Lisburn and Newry were awarded city status and Exeter was awarded a Lord Mayoralty.

Reading West MP Alok Sharma said: "Of course I am very disappointed to learn that Reading has not been awarded city status but congratulations to the winning towns.

"I did feel we had an excellent bid being the largest town which is not a city, having very close links to royalty and being an economic powerhouse in the South East.

"Interestingly, in terms of size, the population of Reading is larger than those of all the new cities combined."

He added: "Reading is a city in all but name and I am sure we will continue to go from strength to strength in the future and no doubt there will be further opportunities to present our excellent case for City status."

Reading Borough Council leader Jo Lovelock said: "Working with partners from across the local community, we submitted a very strong bid, highlighting Reading's excellent credentials as a city-in-waiting.

"It is disappointing that the decision has not gone in our favour - particularly when we have just been named European Micro City of the Future and 5th best European city overall by the Financial Times' fDi magazine.

"Whatever the official position, we will continue to behave like a city and to play an increasingly important role in the economic success of the region."

The town was amongst 25 to bid for city status as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Year celebrations.

Tim Smith, executive director of economic development company, Reading UK CIC and chair of the City Status Partnership Board added: "While it would have been nice to become the City of Reading, this really doesn't change anything for us.

"We will continue to out-perform and out-class most other towns of our size in the UK. Outsiders usually think of us as city in any case: we'll remain a city in all but name."

Twitter was full of rumour, hype and then disapointment this morning.

Ben Lancaster tweeted: "Boo, #rdg didn't get city status. The Queen has snubbed her own (Royal) county."

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