AN ICONIC fixture of the town has been listed an Asset of Community Value (ACV) by the council.

Reading Borough Council has given the Black History Mural enhanced status after campaign group Aspire mounted a bid to buy the derelict Central Club earlier this year.

While the land is up for sale on the open market, the council has stressed the importance of the mural and says it remains dedicated to 'securing its future'.

A debate was called in October after Aspire gathered more than 4,000 signatures, claiming a self-funded bid of £10m had been made by the community group.

Councillors have been prohibited from talking about the nature of the bid, but have insisted the £10m is incorrect.

Jo Lovelock, the council leader, said: “This reinforces our standpoint that we remain fully committed to securing its future.

“The mural remains of huge importance to the black community, the wider community and the council, as it represents Reading’s long history of celebrating different cultures and promoting tolerance.

“The council is also completely clear it expects any offers received in the next round of bidding for the former Central Club building, to include plans to secure the mural’s future.

"All bids will be fully considered in terms of both the community value included in the bid and the financial offer for the building itself.

"While it may be convenient for some to suggest that the mural will disappear as part of this process, the council is quite clear that it expects any offers received in the next round to include proposals to secure the future of the mural.”

Reading’s historic mural dates back to 1990 and is showing signs of deterioration.

The council commissioned a professional survey of the mural in the autumn by experts.

The former Central Club building has been empty and unused since 2006.