READING has entered the Queen's competition to be named a city.

Reading Borough Council has launched its fourth bid for city status to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year.

The Council and believes its 'unique combination of economic and cultural strength' coupled with its many historic links to Royalty both past and present place it in a powerful position to be awarded city status.

Over the coming weeks, the authority intends to mobilise locals, community groups, business representatives and voluntary organisations to support a compelling bid for Reading.

Councillor Jason Brock, Reading Borough Council Leader, said: “This bid for City Status is an opportunity for us to celebrate everything that we know is great about Reading.

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“Many people already mistake Reading for a city, which is understandable given its economic strength and connectivity in terms of transport links, its unique cultural offer and strong sense of historic identity.

"Reading’s bid will, of course, major on all of these aspects, as well as engaging the people, voluntary sector, communities and diversity which creates the unique blend we know and love.

“While the Council’s name will be on the document, we are clear that this is Reading’s bid. Therefore, over the coming months we intend to engage with groups, organisations and communities across the town to build the strongest bid possible.”

The aim is to agree Reading’s submission in the Autumn and submit it ahead of the Government’s December 8th deadline.

Studies suggest that a successful bid for City Status could bring further investment and employment opportunities.

The Council believes it would represent a major boost to Reading’s growing local tourism industry and make it an even more attractive destination for cultural events.

The local economy is already bouncing back strongly from the impact of the pandemic and the honorary ‘City’ title will provide a further stimulus to Reading’s recovery.

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Councillor Tony Page, Deputy Leader, said: “The Council is ambitious for Reading and people would rightly question that ambition if we did not submit a bid on the town’s behalf. A successful bid is something that would enormously benefit the whole town.

“We believe Reading’s offer is unique. Its rich history is evident in this year’s 900th Anniversary of the founding of our historic Royal Abbey; our ambitions to transform Reading Gaol into a beacon of arts, heritage and culture, which remain very much alive; and our many Royal links, both past and present.

"Reading’s economy also remains buoyant and well placed to recover from the pandemic, attracting the range of international, national and independent businesses.

"Our local communities have responded magnificently to the traumatic events of the last year and we will reflect that spirit in our bid.

“We are confident we tick every box, insofar as the Government has set out. We know from previous experience that doesn’t always equate to a successful bid, but together with local voluntary and community groups, the business community and other local partners, we intend to build a compelling case over the months to come.”