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May 2022 – Published by Reading UK
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Pictured above: the 'Welcome to the Oxford Road HSHAZ' mural created by artist AZUCIT for the Reading High Street Heritage Action Zone project! 

The new Elizabeth Line & Reading 

This week, an opening date of 24 May has been announced for the central London section of the Elizabeth Line, but what does this mean for Reading?

  • The Elizabeth Line already operates stopping services from Reading to Paddington as a TfL Rail service twice an hour. These services will continue but will be re-badged as Elizabeth Line.
  • Until the autumn, users of the Elizabeth Line (or GWR mainline services) from Reading will still need to change at Paddington to the Elizabeth Line.
  • The Elizabeth line will initially operate as three separate railways, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield connecting with the central tunnels from autumn this year.
  • Initially, the Elizabeth Line will operate 12 trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood from Monday to Saturday 06:30 to 23:00. 
  • Journey times in central London will be significantly reduced, eg Paddington to Canary Wharf - 17 minutes. 

Reading UK priorities 2022/23

The recent Reading UK Board of Directors Away Day set six key priorities for the organisation over the next year. Kicking off Reading UK's 15th year championing Reading as a business, visitor and living destination, the Board identified a clear role for the organisation in leadership, skills, place branding, town centre regeneration and the green agenda as well as engaging business with what we do. Read more on Reading UK's priorities and plans in the words of Reading UK Executive Director, Nigel Horton-Baker>>> 

Company relocations in Reading

EY Reading have moved into new offices at R+, which have been designed to facilitate the firm’s transition to a hybrid working model. The new office on Blagrave Street is home to over 750 people and maintains the firm’s location in the heart of the town, in close proximity to key transport links. They have taken two floors of the building in a design to maximise opportunities for collaboration and networking. Last year, EY confirmed that it would be transitioning to a hybrid working model in the UK, enabling individuals to split their time between the office, client sites, or working from home. Richard Baker, Office Managing Partner at EY in Reading, said: “The Reading office is the first of its kind for EY, so we will be setting the benchmark and providing a learning opportunity for others to follow."

A global cybersecurity company, Rapid7, is moving into 2 Forbury Place.  The company join a cluster of cyber security companies in Reading such as Verizon, Symantec and Carbon Black. Rapid 7 are relocating from their current premises in Theale to be in Reading town centre, occupying more than 22,000 sq ft on the first floor of the grade A-listed 2 Forbury Place.

Hicks Baker have reported they have leased more space to project management company MiCiM Limited at 55 St Mary Butts. The company moved to the building from their previous offices in Friar Street in 2021 and are expanding. The commercial agents have also announced that a ground floor suite of the former historic brewery building on the Kennet, which mostly recently was home to Loch Fyne restaurant and which has been reburbished, has been let to Milan Beauty Technologies Limited. Two remaining floors totaling 2,530 sq ft are still available.

From Colorado Springs to Reading 

US-based software company, Egnyte, which specialises in data security, file sharing, compliance and governance in one platform have welcomed its Strategic Business Development Manager, Katelynd Trinidad, who has relocated with the business from Colorado Springs to the company's UK office in Reading.

Katelynd has settled in Caversham, walks to work and is busy paddleboarding, discovering the cafes, restaurants and culture of our community, and visiting iconic cities and landmarks weekly!

Find out more about why Katelynd has relocated to Reading>>>

One of Reading's favourite retail destinations turns 50 this month.  Initially known as The Butts Centre, Broad Street Mall has evolved over the five decades and has most recently opened a new cinema, The Biscuit Factory, as well as crazy golf and bowling at Spinners. The Mall has also hosted the NHS vaccination centre throughout COVID. 

Greening our town centre waterways

More than 1,300 aquatic plants have added a wildlife-friendly splash of greenery to Reading this month with five new floating reed beds on the Kennet & Avon Canal. The Canal & River Trust, together with the Oracle Centre and Reading Abbey Quarter BID have planted reeds and flowering plants on special pontoons. Quick to establish, the floating beds will soon be attracting birds and insects and giving shelter for the fish in the canal. Find out more at visit-reading.com>>>

Bowling alley for Reading

Thames Tap has reported that Bowl Central will be opening a seven-lane bowling alley in the former Dawsons music shop on Caversham Road. 

Visit-Reading.com

A brand-new destination website, visit-reading.com has been launched by Reading UK. With listings for accommodation, things to do, shops, restaurants, bars and cafes, the site will be the go-to resource for people visiting Reading for work, leisure, study or coming to see friends and family. 

 

As part of its targeted response to rising energy bills, the government has introduced a £150 council tax rebate. Reading Borough Council has, this week, begun the process of rolling out the rebate to local residents  who live in Bands A - D and pay their Council Tax by direct debit. An application process for residents who do not pay by direct debit, or for residents applying for discretionary payments, will begin later in May. 

Highways and transport services in Reading have received recognition from the borough’s residents, after the council was ranked the third highest performing local authority in the country by the National Highways and Transport (NHT) Public Satisfaction survey. The results of the survey, run annually to gain views on the council’s highways and transport services from the condition of roads and footpaths to the quality of cycling facilities, also saw Reading score above average in 6 out of 7 main criteria areas. 

 

Celebrating Biscuit Town!

For a large part of the last 200 years, Reading was known as Biscuit Town in recognition of the impact that the Huntley & Palmer biscuit factory had on the town. A special exhibition at the Museum of English Rural Life, which opens on Tuesday will be the centre piece of the celebrations, along with  walking tours, afternoon tea and the stunning biscuit tin collection at Reading Museum. Find out more>>>

Get a feel for Reading's biscuit celebrations this summer with Reading UK's short introductory film. 

Clooney uses Reading as Washington DC in new film

A 1930s-set story centered on the University of Washington's rowing team, directed by local resident George Clooney is being filmed in and around Berkshire and based out of Winnersh Film Studios. This follows the recently approved planning application for Winnersh Film Studios by Wokingham Borough Council.  The facilities will consist of 120,000 square feet of stage space, 50,000 square feet of workshops and 25,000 square feet of offices. 

Eat Reading this weekend

This year's town centre street food festival takes place this Saturday and Sunday, 7 & 8 May. With fine weather forecast and over 25 street food stalls, live music and a giant dining table, Eat Reading will turn Broad Street into a mouth-watering foodie paradise for the weekend. Find out more>>>

What's On this May 

We've got some of this month's highlights from our friends at WhatsonReading.com, from food events to Shakespeare, music to guided tours. 

Land's Heart is Greater Than Its Map - 25-29 May

SITELINES is South Street’s award-winning programme of “theatre in unusual spaces” is back with an alternative guided tour of a mystery town while wandering through Reading. 

Midsummer Night's Dream - 11 May - 5 June

A World Premiere Adaption of William Shakespeare's famous play by Reading Rep Theatre. 

Jubilee Celebrations & Water Fest - 4 June

This year, Reading's annual waterways celebration coincides with Jubilee Weekend and will be Reading's centre piece Jubilee celebration.. 


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