When a place is named one of the top 5 European cities it’s kind of strange not to have city status. In fact last week I had to correct Chief Executive of the Crown Estate to explain we aren’t a city. So while it would be nice to be officially recognised and in particular for promoting ourselves internationally I think we can say we don’t really need to the endorsement – although it would have been really nice to have. I know Chelmsford quite well having spent part of my teenage years attending a Chelmsford school and I hope that city status will be a boost for them.
Council’s official reaction below:
Reading community and business leaders have expressed disappointment that the town has not been recognised in its bid to become a city.
Commenting on the decision, Jo Lovelock, Leader of Reading Borough Council, said: ‘Working with partners from across the local community, we submitted a very strong bid, highlighting Reading’s excellent credentials as a city-in-waiting.
‘It is disappointing that the decision has not gone in our favour – particularly when we have just been named European Micro City of the Future and 5th best European city overall by fDi magazine.’
‘Whatever the official position, we will continue to behave like a city and to play an increasingly important role in the economic success of the region.’
‘On behalf of the people of Reading, I would like to congratulate Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph on achieving City Status and to wish them every success in the future.’
The town was amongst 25 UK destinations which had submitted an application to be bestowed with the civic honour in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.
Tim Smith, Executive Director of Reading UK CIC, and Chair of the City Status Partnership Board added: ‘While it would have been nice to become the City of Reading, this really doesn’t change anything for us. We will continue to out-perform and out-class most other towns of our size in the UK. Outsiders usually think of us as city in any case: we’ll remain a city in all but name.’
The news that Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph received the honour of City Status will be a relief to the bookies who had Reading as odds-on favourite right the way through the submission period.