Wednesday, 14 March 2012

City of the Future

I could say I told you so, but I won't. It would be disrespectful to those who put in a lot of time and effort into the bid and certainly I think Reading CIC did a great job. I have no issues about their running of the bid and a lot of positive things will have come out of it.

What was dangerous in a lot of the talking up of the advantages of city status was that it would enhance the position of the town in getting international recognition. And the danger of advocating that angle is presumably the message given out by failing is that Reading isn't worthy of investment so move to Chelmsford. You can't have it both ways.

In any case, to argue that global corporations make decisions based on ceremonial words written on a piece of paper rather than cold hard facts is either naive or misdirection to cover up the underlying flaw in the application. Reading simply isn't big enough.

Reading is only 118th by population in the list of English authorities. It's a town, with the characteristics of a town... but I'm proud to live in this town. There's nothing wrong with a town.

On the otherhand, I'd be fully behind any bid that tried to resolve the ludicrous boundaries that were part of the political carve up of Berkshire County Council. A campaign for a Greater Reading and city status for it would have my full backing. Reading with Lower Earley, Woodley, Calcot and outer Tilehurst would be unstoppable in any future competition.

Let's see if those declaring their "disappointment" at losing will now rally behind the creation of Greater Reading. It will certainly show whether they are serious about city status or whether their words in the Council chamber were simply political preening.


Jonathan said...

One example of the advantages of being a city was in the recent budget. The investment in "super fast" broadband is only available to cities, and Reading, being a town evidently isn't eligible for investment, despite being a major centre for IT companies. A letter from the Queen saying the settlement is a city might not encourage investors, but the availability of a decent internet connection certainly will.


Reading doesn't look like a city; it doesn't feel like a city and who gives a monkey's a*se whether anyone calls it a city?

I'd rather live in the biggest town in Britain thanks very much.

Lighten up - at least we don't live in Portsmouth.

Was said...

City status would not have made the slightest difference.

It was available to 10 "of the biggest" cities. Reading at 146,000 is nowhere near any of those selected.

To suggest it would is clutching at straws.