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June 2022 – Published by Reading UK
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Pictured above: the Elizabeth Line puts Reading on the London transport map.

A city by almost any measure

All over London, from Canary Wharf to Tottenham Court Road, the name of Reading is now up in lights as the western terminus of the new Elizabeth Line.

Reading, a place with its own identity but also better connected than ever, may not have been one of the eight newly announced UK cities, but by many measures, it has been operating as a city throughout its history and as Nigel Horton-Baker explains, meets the generally accepted criteria for a twenty-first century city.

Read the blog>>>

Best city to live for familes and young adults

Two surveys by Internet comparison site, comparethemarket.com, rates Reading as among the best places to live in the UK, adding to the recent accolade in the Sunday Times Best Places to Live in the South East. 

Reading is rated as the second best place to live for young adults, pipped only by Edinburgh. High salaries and the UK's best 4G coverage were among the factors that infuenced its appeal. Reading also rated 10th in the UK for nightlife.

Reading ranked fifth among the UK's best cities for raising a family with key factors including house prices, average monthly salary, as well as job opportunities, air quality, broadband speeds, and the number of schools, museums and libraries.

Business moves


Almost 70,000 sq ft of office space has been leased or re-leased in Reading so far this year showing continuing confidence in Reading as an office location, with cyber security firm Rapid 7 the largest deal, taking 22,000 sq ft in Reading town centre. Other businesses taking space include Posh Virtural Receptionists, Stibo and Three, with leases ranging from two years to 10 years. 

Analysis of the market by property experts CoStar, point to occupiers showing a preference for quality office stock in Reading city centre, while take up outside the centre has been more robust  than many of the region's other major submarkets. "Connectivity and proximity to the capital, coupled with its popularity among TMT and finance industries, have continued to drive demand." 

Reading UK Board member, Aaron Pope of M&G, speaking to Thames Tap, said: “At the moment there’s a lot of smaller enquiries in the Thames Valley, especially for Reading at the moment, and we are just monitoring and waiting for the bigger ones to come through, those of 20,000 sq ft and above rather than 3,000-7,000 sq ft....Optimism is still quite high, viewing levels are strong and encouraging, but it is taking a long time from the very first viewing to getting that deal completed and done.”

 

Medical equipment manufacturer Occuity, is expanding and has moved to larger office space in The Blade. The new space offers the Occuity team both office and lab space enabling them to work more collaboratively. Occuity have grown out of co-working space in the Blade to its own bespoke office space.

Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, have chosen to remain in Reading through the downsizing process of the company in the UK. They will be based at Thames Valley Park, having moved from their larger offices at Green Park.

Investor confidence in Reading is confirmed by the purchase of M&G's One Forbury Place, leased predominantly to SSE, by Citi Private Bank, a subsidiary of banking conglomerate Citigroup, for £100 million.

New website for growing your business


The Berkshire Growth Hub has launched its new website. The new site allows you to easily access information through support guides and resources whether you are starting, running or growing your business. The Berkshire Growth Hub delivers the government funded business advice service and supports small and medium sized enterprises in Berkshire to achieve sustainable business growth.

Work place energy grants


One of the most effective, and long-term ways to mitigate against energy price rises is to reduce energy consumed, through efficiency upgrades.

Such improvements include; LED lighting, solar PV, heating system upgrades, and insulation/glazing to improve heat retention. The main barrier to these may well be the initial cost. However, a Low Carbon Workspaces’ grant from £1,000 - £5,000 can help fund a third of the cost of such projects at commercial premises.

These interventions are a great way to save money on energy bills, and reduce your carbon emissions; helping to achieve net zero goals. Grants cannot be paid retrospectively so it is essential to apply before undertaking work or appointing suppliers. For full details visit lowcarbonworkspaces.co.uk or email the team at info@lowcarbonworkspaces.co.uk
 

Reading University news
 

Research impact
The work of 754 staff members of the University of Reading was submitted for assessment across 22 subject areas in the latest national grading of research excellence in the UK (REF). The University's research was assessed as 40% world-leading (4*), 46% internationally excellent (3*), 13% recognised internationally (2*) and 2% recognised nationally (1*). This represents a 10% increase in 3* and 4* research since the last REF assessment in 2014, with Reading increasing its position among UK universities. 

Reading entrepreneur is new University Chancellor
The founder of baby food company, Ella's Kitchen, Paul Lindley OBE, has been named as the new Chancellor of the University. Ella's Kitchen was originally conceived in a kitchen in Reading and has gone on to be a global brand. Read Paul LIndley's blog on what he wants to achieve as Chancellor>>>

An international museum hub

Two of the world's most famous museums are setting up bases in Reading, in a ground-breaking partnership with the University of Reading.  The Natural History Museum has announced that it will be creating a state-of-the-art science and digitisation centre at the University's Thames Valley Science Park, which will enable major international scientific collaboration, generate big data and the application of cutting-edge analysis of the world’s most significant natural history collection – supporting the worldwide effort to tackle the planetary emergency. Over 27 million specimens, as well as over 5,500 metres of accompanying Natural History Museum Library material will be rehoused to Reading in the largest collections move for the Museum since the 1880s. 

This announcement follows on from the construction of unique storage facilities for the British Museum in Reading at the Thames Valley Science Park, a first of its kind partnership between a national museum and a UK university to deliver study and research benefits to students, academics and members of the public. 

 

New administration

Following May's elections, Reading Borough Council has announced its new administration headed up by Councillor Jason Brock with Councillor Tony Page continuing as Deputy Leader.  The new updated portfolios and associated Lead Councillors are:

  • Cllr John Ennis - Lead Councillor for Adult Social Care
  • Cllr Graeme Hoskin - Lead Councillor for Children
  • Cllr Tony Page - Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport
  • Cllr Liz Terry - Lead Councillor for Corporate Services and Resources
  • Cllr Ruth McEwan - Lead Councillor for Education and Public Health
  • Cllr Karen Rowland - Lead Councillor for Environmental Services and Community Safety
  • Cllr Ellie Emberson - Lead Councillor for Housing
  • Cllr Adele Barnett-Ward - Lead Councillor for Leisure and Culture
  • Cllr Micky Leng - Lead Councillor for Planning and Assets
  • Council Chief Executive Officer, Peter Sloman, has also announced he will be retiring in July after five years running Reading Borough Council and more than 40 years working in local government. We wish him a happy retirement. 

A summer of festivals

Come summer, Reading turns into a city of festivals with everything from food to music to open air theatre and cinema and celebrations of Reading's many different communities. 

  • Chilli Fest  - 18 June, Broad Street
  • Stories in the Park – 18 June, Palmer Park. Two stages of the most cutting edge international DJs from the worlds of drum & bass, bassline, garage, house and techno.
  • East Reading Festival – 26 June, Palmer Park
  • Bastille Day – 9/10 July, Forbury Gardens
  • Readipop Festival – 8-10 July, Christchurch Meadows
  • Summer Love Fest featuring Aswad – 23 July, Prospect Park
  • Here Comes The Sun – 6 August, Rising Sun Arts Centre
  • Reading Mela – 7 August, Palmer Park
  • Reading Festival - 26 - 28 August, Thames Promenade
  • Open air cinema/theatre – Caversham Court Gardens / Reading Abbey Ruins  - throughout the summer
  • Reading Biscuit Town 200 - all summer until end September

Find out more about these and many other festivals at whatsonreading.com 

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

What's On this June

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

The Final Whistle - until 11 June

The last act of Reading FC's 150th anniversary season is a one-man play set in the home changing room. The Final Whistle celebrates football as community and is a must for all football fans. 

Whiteknights Studio Trail - 11/12 June

Artists based near the University open their studios to the public for one weekend. 

Huntley & Palmers Audio Trail - from 21 June

Reading’s Biscuit Town 200 celebrations continue with an audio trail presented by Reading’s High Street Heritage Action Zones Programme. Listen online or via your smartphone.


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