The Reading Economic Area has a strong and mature economy, with hi-tech industries and the creative sector contributing significantly to its success. Businesses are drawn to the area by the availability of a highlyskilled workforce, access to international transport hubs (including Heathrow Airport), a high quality of life on offer and knowledge intensive business clusters.
Air – the scale of global connectivity from Heathrow, when compared against its main European competitors, is virtually unrivalled. Reading has a 40-minute direct coach service to Heathrow and will have a direct rail link from 2021. Reading also has a direct train service to Gatwick.
Rail - direct rail links into London in 25 minutes; from 2019, Crossrail will link Reading with Central London, the City of London and Europe directly. The Heathrow Rail link is due in 2021. Road - Reading is well located on the M4. New investment is planned for the M4 along the Thames Valley.
Transport within Reading – Reading boasts the UK’s best bus operation which links the town centre with the University and business parks, a brand new ReadyBike bike hire scheme and a new pedestrian bridge over the Thames scheduled for 2015.
Reading Borough is home to around 145,000 people, while the wider urban area is home to a population of around 275,000 with a broader retail catchment for Reading of over 1.2 million.
A national measure of economic success, the Good Growth for Cities Index 2014, produced by PwC and Demos, has ranked Reading and Bracknell as the UK’s top place to live and work for the second consecutive year.
The Index measures the current performance of 39 cities on a range of measures wider than just economic output and captures the characteristics of cities, which the UK public consider important for judging medium to long-term economic success. The Index scores show that the Reading and Bracknell area retains the top spot with particular strengths in jobs, income, health and skills.
Nigel Horton Baker, Executive Director of Reading UK CIC, the economic development company for Reading, said: “The Good Growth Index report highlights many of the reasons why Reading attracts and retains top businesses and talent in the area such as good earnings and career potential, excellent quality of life and access to highly-skilled employees.
"Reading is a great place to live and work and its size and excellent transport links, means it competes strongly both nationally and internationally. However, economic wellbeing is not a given and Reading still faces challenges. We need to ensure that Reading builds on its strengths, encouraging more investment and inward investment. We must work hard to make Reading a truly smart and sustainable city, one which provides housing affordable to all and ensures that everyone has equal access to jobs and the associated benefits of economic growth. As the report makes clear, good growth is in everyone’s interest and only a truly public / private partnership approach to growth can secure Reading’s long-term future."
A GLOBAL INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
Confidence in the Reading economy is reflected in the current wave of investment with over 650,000 sq ft of new or grade A refurbished office space under construction and a further almost 500,000 sq ft recently completed.
Reading was ranked in the top ten European cities for Foreign Direct Investment in the fDI Cities of the Future 2014 (FT) with a particularly strong ranking for business friendliness and economic potential.
Reading is the capital of Thames Valley Berkshire, the most advanced sub-regional knowledge economy in Great Britain, outside Inner London. Its location, connectivity, skilled work force, research University and vibrant town centre have attracted both global companies such as Microsoft and Oracle Corporation to base themselves here as well as a strong cadre of SMEs, who see a Reading location as a key to growth.
Reading is highly regarded for its dynamic economy and business base, but it is also a place that challenges perceptions and surprises.
Ask anyone who has visited recently and they will tell you about the shopping, the restaurants and the nightlife. Talk to anyone who has lived here and they will want to tell you about the beautiful stretches of river, the acres of parkland and ancient woodland.
Reading is surprising in so many ways: Michelin Star restaurants; over eight hundred listed buildings and monuments; boutique hotels; a world-renowned red-brick university; family friendly museums; two National Trails and two great rivers on our doorstep.
Famous as one of the UK’s top retail destinations, the heart of Reading offers so much more than superb shopping. Forbury Gardens, a nationally acclaimed Victorian formal garden, is the town’s floral heart, leading you beautifully to the ruins of Reading Abbey, ancient monument and focal point of our Heritage Lottery funded Abbey Quarter project.
There is so much to intrigue and inspire. You’ll want to walk along the canal, exploring the sites of Reading’s industrial past. Find yourself at Blake’s Lock and in the shadow of luxury apartments, explore the Riverside Museum and relax on the barge moored outside a restaurant that started life as a Victorian pumping station.
Nothing stands still for long in Reading, and that is as it should be in a town that enjoys a pivotal location in the South East. The very best of England’s heritage is within easy reach by road and rail. Explore the glorious countryside of Royal Berkshire with its picture postcard villages, enjoy the historic towns of Windsor and Henley, the tranquil River Thames and the vibrant Kennet and Avon Canal.
Travel is child’s play - with Heathrow airport just thirty minutes away and London Paddington even quicker to reach by train. Live in Reading and you can enjoy the best of the Thames Valley life without the stress and congestion of London.
Remarkable landscapes abound in Berkshire - from pretty Thameside villages to the inspiring beauty of the Chilterns, the scenery around Reading is some of the best you will find anywhere in the south.
Reading’s connection with the Crown was partly thanks to its location on the Thames. It was easily accessible from London, Richmond and Windsor via the river and so became a natural stopping point and an important strategic base. Nowadays the river has little value for communication, so has regained much of its natural beauty, with wildlife returning in significant numbers to its water. And the river is, of course, a magnet for activity of all kinds - boating, cruising and sports.
Royal Berkshire is one of the most remarkable countries in England when it comes to glorious stately houses and picturesque gardens. Those close to Reading include Stratfield Saye, Highclere Castle, Cliveden and Stonor Park. Other properties include Basildon Park (National Trust) and Maple Durham House and Gardens (with a working water mill). Reading itself offers over 400 acres of parkland, meadows and play areas. These include Forbury Gardens, an early example of a Victorian garden that can be found in Reading’s most important heritage quarter in the centre of the town. Another park worth discovering is Prospect, where you can enjoy excellent walking, explore wildlife areas - and even model steam trains on a ‘steaming’ Sunday.
Our Thames Parks, which include vast waterside meadows, allotments, woodland, wildlife reserves and historic Caversham Court, provide some of the most diverse and accessible stretches of the Thames in the country. The whole family will enjoy exploring View Island, reached from Kings Meadow on the north bank of the Thames, while Caversham Court is perfect for tranquil afternoons watching the world go by, or enjoying the bustling activity of Thames Prom on the opposite bank.
For those who love walking, Reading is a natural starting point for both the Thames Path and Ridgeway National Trails. The Thames Path is some 184 miles stretching from the Cotswolds to Greenwich, and offers plenty of options for short, picturesque walks around Reading. The Ridgeway is an ancient bridleway - easily reached from Reading, offering challenging walks from Streatley
Where do you start? One of the country’s top children’s attractions - Legoland - is within easy reach. Closer to Reading, Beale Park is a conversation trust working with rare birds. Set in acres of glorious land on the Thames, the park also offers play areas, pools, a pet’s corner and model ships exhibition. Odds Farm Park and Bucklebury Farm Park offer the chance to meet a host of unusual breeds. Meanwhile at The Living Rainforest you can enjoy a real rainforest environment and discover some of the rarest plant species in the UK - whatever the time of year.
Family friendly museums are a year round, all-weather favourite. The museum of Reading has gallery after gallery of hands-on-fun, whether your children want to dress in a Roman toga or colour in a scene from the Bayeux Tapestry. Explore the Museum of English Rural Life, with all sorts of farm equipment. Both Museums offer full programmes of special events and activities for families. And if your children (including the big kids) love all things mechanical and military visit the Museum of Berkshire Aviation at Woodley, or the REME Museum at nearby Arborfield.
Perhaps because it has such excellent transport links, people tend to think of Reading as a modern, high-tech kind of place. Whilst it’s true we have our share of striking modern architecture, we have managed to retain the feel of a town that has a colourful and important history and a world famous cultural identity.
The historic heart of Reading is now subject to an ambitious Heritage Lottery Bid to create the Abbey Quarter. This will allow important restoration work to some of our most precious landmarks, as well as creating a vibrant, well-interpreted destination area - telling the story of Reading from medieval to Victorian times.
The Abbey Quarter is bordered by four historic buildings: The first landmark is the Museum of Reading and Town Hall complex (Opened 1872 - 75). Victorian gothic architecture at its finest, the buildings include a family-friendly museum, the Madejski Art Gallery, a conference centre and the magnificent concert hall, complete with its fine Father Willis organ. The central Town Hall building was designed by eminent Victorian architect (and local boy) Alfred Waterhouse.
The next notable building is St Laurence’s Church, a surviving reminder of the magnificent Abbey that once covered the whole of this area. The church also survived a direct bombing during World War II.
Just a few minutes walk through the peaceful churchyard you’ll find yourself in Forbury Gardens - once the forecourt of the Abbey. Wander through the Gardens, past the Maiwand Lion and the Victorian bandstand to find the town’s most important historical feature - the Abbey Ruins. Henry I, the Abbey’s founder, was buried in front of the high altat on this site in 1136. Dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539 (when the last Abbot was executed on what is now Town Hall Square) the Ruins give some idea of the size of this great structure.
Finally, right next to the Ruins is probably the best-known prison in literature: Reading Gaoll. The Ballad of Reading Gaol was written by its most famous inmate, Oscar Wilde, upon his release from the prison in 1890. Reading has 13 specific conservation areas - look out for their special green street signs - varying in character from Victorian suburbs at The Mount, to village centres at Horncastle and St Peter’s and formal Georgian/Regency townscapes at Eldon Square.
Reading’s great economic growth in the Victorian era was due to its ‘Three Bs’. Generally held to be beer, biscuits and bulbs, it is advisable not to argue at this point with the local people - many believe bricks should be in there and more than a few think bacon played a role too!
While Reading was famous for its bricks (and has some of the finest examples of traditional grey and red brick work in the south) it was the great Victorian industries that really put Reading on the map and brought thousands more working people to the area.
The greatest of these, Huntley and Palmers, is celebrated in the Museum of Reading’s unique Biscuit Gallery. Sutton Seeds (bulbs) relocated some time ago and the town has just seen the closure of the brewery that provided the last link with its original Simond’s Brewery.
The ever-changing face of Reading, from early Saxon settlement to high-tech capital, is brought to life vividly at The Museum of Reading. Displays cover everything from Viking invasions to the Reading Festival. One of its most important galleries, however, is the Silchester - containing collections from the Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum, to the south of Reading.
For over fifty years Reading has worked to strengthen international links through town twinning. Our twin cities and towns reflect the diverse and multi-cultural community of Reading.
Reading’s sister city is Reading in Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA. Our twin city is Dusseldorf, the capital of Ireland’s County Tipperary, and has been dubbed the most beautiful inland town in the country. Clonmel is situated on the River Suir with the famous Comeragh mountains nearby. The population of Clonmel is 15,800 and the main employment is medical and care products, minerals and drinks manufacture.
San Fransisco Libre in Nicaragua is a small rural town, with a population of about 10,500 people. It lies next to Lake Managua, close to the magnificent Momotombo Volcano. Life in the town is fairly simple and the houses have few comforts. Although the town is only 50 miles from the capital of Nicaruaga, communications are poor and the road is often impassable in the rainy season.
Reading’s most recent twin, Speightstown in Barbados, represents formally the long-standing links between Reading’s large Bajan community and the beautiful Caribbean island, world famous for tourism as well as its agriculture.
FROM WITHIN THE UK
Reading is one of the busiest national rail interchanges in Britain and has direct routes to almost every part of the UK. It is currently undergoing a massive £850 million expansion programme to improve capacity.
National Express coaches serve Callcot (about 6 miles west of Reading centre, just off M4 junction 12).
The M4 has three junctions at Reading and links us directly with the M25, M3 and M40. Parking in Reading is relatively easy as the town has plenty of good quality multi-storey car parks. Car parks are clearly marked and real time information signs on main routes will advise you if car parks are full.
There are excellent Park and Ride Services at Madejski Stadium, just off junction 11 of the M4 and London Bridge, off the A329M, at Showcase Cinema.
FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Our local airport is Heathrow - just 30 minutes drive time straight along the M4. A regular direct coach service runs between Heathrow and Reading Station. Gatwick Airport is about 1.5 hours by road, or use the regular train service.
Routes from Portsmouth and Southampton are easy, about 1.5 hours drive, or regular direct train.
From Michelin starred restaurants to celebrity chef’s pubs. Reading has fast become an iconic foodie location.
The town has an abundance of top-notch local producers as well as a growing choice of fabulous restaurants. Forbury Square, in the town centre, is the base for Forbury’s Restaurant, Cerise - the chic brasserie in the Forbury Hotel and the London Street Brasserie on Oracle Riverside.
If the emphasis is on family fun the best place to find yourself is The Oracle Riverside - a real melting pot of culinary choices from Brown’s to Wagamama via Cote and Jamie’s Italian.
The villages around Reading, whether in Berkshire or South Oxfordshire, have a wealth of traditional pubs and great gastropubs. Whilst it’s true many of our traditional pubs are in danger of closing, the ones that have evolved into ‘must visit’ eateries seem assured of a future, with the very best enjoying national reputations.
One of the real joys of living in Reading is its proximity to some of the prettiest scenery in the south - 15 minutes by car heading north and you are in the Chilterns Area of Natural Beauty. 10 or 15 minutes drive heading west and you are in the heart of rural Berkshire, where you can explore Kennet and Avon country (there is a visitor centre at Padworth) and heading south you are almost immediately in north Hampshire, where farming and village life are still the natural order of things.
Reading is one of the UK’s top retail destinations and really is a shopper’s paradise. with the choice of stores having grown dramatically over the past few years it’s the perfect destination for finding a new outfit, the ideal gift or a whole new look for your home.
The town boasts two impressive shopping centres, The Oracle and Broad Street Mall, and is also one of the few places where you can find the UK’s top four retailers in one place. Debenhams, House of Fraser, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer are all situated within easy walking distance of each other.
If it’s famous brands you are after Reading delivers, with names like Hollister, Apple, Cath Kidston, Hotel Chocolat and Lakeland.
Reading has been long established as a cultural centre: it has several theatre venues, including The Hexagon, The Concert Hall and South Street, as well as the Progress Theatre (the innovative repertory theatre where Kenneth Branagh took his first acting steps). The Mill at Sonning is a theatre-restaurant converted from an 18th century watermill.
We’ve also got two casinos, jazz clubs, cinemas and film theatres, open air Shakespeare, Sunday band concerts, local band nights, gigs at Rivermead, and a different festival to celebrate almost every month.
Our diary of events and festivals is outstanding. Biggest and most famous is Reading Festival, running since 1971 and the second largest UK music festival after Glastonbury. It attracts 80,000 fans every year, to watch headline acts from around the world.
Other events include the long running Community Carnival in May, the Children’s Festival (four weeks in May to June), the Real Ale and Jazz Festival (July) and WaterFest (June).
In facts the events calendar in and around Reading celebrates our cultural diversity, our heritage and our energy; whether it’s the Dhoom Dhamaka festival of Asian art, the Reading Crime Writing Festival or Heritage Open Days.
Reading has a good mix of nightlife, mostly centres around the Friar Street / London Street parts of the town centre.
We’ve managed to attract a growing list of quality independent restaurants, family friendly venues and some great nightspots with their own unique appeal - from Zero Degrees with its on-site micro brewery, producing some surprising flavours in beer, to the relaxed and homely charms of Oakford Social Club, to atmospheric venues like Lola Lo’s, Bar Iguana and Sakura.
Friar Street is home to Sub 89/highlight, Rewind, O’Neills, The Walkabout, Bed Bar, Pitcher and Piano, Yates and Q Club, Revolution is nearby on Station Road.
Afro Bar/Chan Cham (on Merchants Place, behind Novotel) is a relaxed, friendly kind of bar ideal for chilling.
Reading legend the Purple Turtle has been on Gun Street for a couple of decades and is as popular as ever, with students and residents alike. It’s newer neighbours, Zero Degrees and Sahara, are also favourites with the after-office crowds. Travelling up to London Street you’ll find another local landmark - the After Dark Club, which runs a variety of themed nights throughout the weekend.
The sports offer is just as impressive as the nightlife in Reading - the royals (Reading Football Club) share the magnificent 25,000 seater Madejski Stadium with London Irish RFC.
Reading Men’s Hockey Club have been European Champions, as well as forming the core of Olympic sides. Rowing is equally well represented: the University of Reading Rowing Club is an important breeding ground for Olympic hopefuls, and Reading Amateur Regatta is the second biggest in the country (after Henley).
If you love water based sport you can try your hand at sailing, canoeing, or even jetskiing, waterskiing or windsurfing on one of the large lakes that surround Reading.
The Reading Half Marathon is held on a Sunday in March each year. It is open to everyone from fun runners to elite athletes, and was one of the first town races to include wheelchair athletes. Over 16,000 entrants can take part.
As well as our public facilities Reading offers a good choice of private gyms and health clubs. Many of the larger hotels also offer private membership of their gym, pool and spa facilities.
Golfers will be delighted to find an excellent range in the Reading area. There are two clubs in the town - Reading and Calcot (Plus Castle Royle within easy distance). There is a golf driving range (Leaderboard) at Rivermead just north of the town centre and golf facilities at Mapledurham, Wokefield Park, Wokingham and Binfield.
Reading Borough Council has seven sport and leisure venues that offer something for everyone who wants to improve their fitness levels and have fun. Also on offer are adult and baby swimming pools, dance studios, a health suite, squash courts, a bowls hall - in fact something for all ages and abilities. Residents can enjoy ‘Your Reading Passport’ (YRP), a discount card that is accepted for reduced charges at leisure centres, for child care, events and entertainment and shops throughout the Borough. You can apply at any Council leisure centre or library.
The Pathway to Wellbing Scheme can help support you to lead a healthier lifestyle and improve your wellbeing through access to a range of programmes and activities. Whether you are looking for ways to increase physical activity levels, eat more healthily or simply need extra support in reaching your goals the wellbeing scheme can work for you! The Scheme will help you get started with activities in leisure centres such as a gym programme, fitness classes, swimming or even an adult informal learning course to help you try out something new.
Reading Borough Council’s Sport Development team provides the delivery of a number of sport and physical activity initiatives in the local community, across all ages and abilities. One of its key areas of work is in coaching development, and increasing the number of people who can teach and inspire others to become more involved in all kinds of sports or physical activity.
The team also support many of the member organisations in the Cultural Partnership - which is now the main delivery body for sport and physical activity participation in the town, as well as arts activity. Together, the member organisations are creating a sporting legacy for Reading.
PRE SCHOOL EDUCATION SERVICES
THE FAMILY INFORMATION SERVICE
This free information service is for Reading families with children aged from birth to 19 years old (or 25 years old for people with special needs / learning difficulties and disabilities).
The FIS works with parents and carers to support them with information regarding childcare, leisure activities and other needs. They also welcome contact from professionals and businesses who may require additional support in meeting their family focused work-life balance policies and aims. You can contact the FIS with any family matter including: childcare, parent development, special needs, health, financial enquiries, education, leisure activities, holiday activities, pregnancy, family support and much more.
There are 13 children’s centres across Reading, providing a range of support and services for children aged 0-5 years old, and their families. Full details of these can be found on Reading Borough Council’s website. Carefully nurturing with a passion for learning.
SCHOOLS IN READING
Reading has two outstanding grammar schools, Kendrick School and Reading School, accepting admissions from across central Berkshire. The Reading area is home to some of the best achieving private schools in the country. these include The Abbey, St Joseph’s, Blue Coat and Crosfields.
The University of Reading is ranked as one of the UK’s 10 most research-intensive universities and as one of the top 200 universities in the world. It enjoys a world-class reputation for teaching, research and enterprise.
This red-brick university is home to several centres of excellence and conducts world-class research across a broad range of disciplines. It is consistently one of the most popular higher education choices in the UK. The unusually broad portfolio of full and part -time degree programmes covers the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences.
This thriving further education college located at the edge of Reading town centre serves over 8,500 local learners. Offering 900 further education courses, the College pays a vital part in meeting the learning and training needs of local people and local businesses.
Reading College (formerly part of Thames Valley University) is a new partnership between Oxford & Cherwell Valley College, an Oxfordshire based further education college, and the Learning and Skills Network, a not-for-profit organisation active in improving education and training through support programmes, research, consultancy and training. the college offers a wide choice of full-time, parttime and work-based courses for people in Reading and the surrounding areas, but also welcomes students from all over the world - who come to improve their English or prepare for degree courses. Around 10% of the student population come from overseas.
REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE
The RE3 partnership provides recycling facilities for residents living in Bracknell, Reading and Wokingham Boroughs. Reading currently recycles 35% of its household waste (with a target of 40%). All the materials collected from your recycling bins go into an industrial reclamation process. The materials resulting from these processes are then made into new products. In addition there are over 50 recycling sites in the town.
READING IN BLOOM
Reading in Bloom is part of the national ‘Britain in Bloom’ initiative bringing out the best in villages, towns and cities throughout the UK every summer! All types of people get involved - and the whole town benefits from the amazing floral displays that pop up all over the place. In fact with the help of many local people and businesses and all types of organisations from schools to restaurants, Reading has been the proud winner of the Thames and Chilterns City category for the last few years - achieving a prestigious Gold award in 2011, thanks to the town’s environmental programmes and the amazing contributions of our community groups.
COMMUNITY, COUNCIL AND COMMERCIAL SECTOR WORKING TOGETHER READING TREE WARDEN SCHEME
Tree Wardens are a national force of local tree champions and a key part of the Tree Council’s community action programme.
The scheme provides:
Reading has been a fair trade town since February 2004, with community, council and the commercial sector working together to meet the requirements of the Fair Trade Foundation.
Reading is one of the most interesting and dynamic towns in the UK. With a diverse, well educated and creative population, the town has some of the best performing schools in the UK and a red-brick university leading the world in climate change study.
It’s perfectly located for access to Heathrow, London, the south coast and other key areas of the country. Long established as a major transport interchange for both rail and road, location has been a major factor in the ongoing success of Reading.
So it is hardly surprising that some of the world’s most famous companies have chosen to set up home here - Microsoft, Oracle Corporation, BG Group, Verizon Business and Symantec to name just a few.
But Reading is surprising in so many other ways: Michelin Star Restaurants; over 800 listed buildings and monuments; boutique hotels; family friendly museums; two National Trails and two great rivers on our doorstep.
As the town moves forward it proudly acknowledges its remarkable history. From an influential position at the heart of monarchy in the Middle Ages (the formidable Abbey Ruins still sit in the heart of the town centre), to its popularity as a thriving commercial centre under the Victorians, each new development has been embraced as part of a natural process of growth. The modern expansion of the modern town, its optimism and commitment to regeneration is about re-establishing Reading as a leader on the international stage - but is also about creating a town that its people can feel proud of.
THE BUSINESS HEART OF THE THAMES VALLEY
As the largest town in the south-east, Reading is already acknowledged as a city in all but name, with 213,000 residents in greater Reading (800,000 within an hour’s drive).
The town’s proven attractiveness to business puts it at a great advantage in the economic recovery. In its 2012 Outlook, the Centre for Cities once more identifies Reading as one to watch - a “small and nimble” city because of its continued increase in business start-ups and wage levels. The report is the fifth published in recent years to have recognised Reading’s position as one of the top ten cities driving the UK economy.
EXCELLENT LOCATION, EVER-IMPROVING INFRASTRUCTURE
Reading’s functional economic area (FEA) stretches from Theale in the west, to Bracknell in the east. This FEA acts as a catalyst, stimulating the wider regional economy. Official statistics show that a fifth of Reading’s workforce - 20.6% - is employed in professional occupations, much higher than the national average of 13.9%. Similarly, 34.3% of employees are concentrated in finance. IT and business activities, compared to @@% nationally. A larger proportion of workers has NVQ4+ qualifications (33.9% against 29.9%).
Unsurprisingly, these higher level skills result in better earnings, with gross pay in Reading reaching £563 weekly by the end of 2011, well up on the national average of $491. Just 2.3% of local people were registered as looking for work in Nov 2011.
Accessibility contributes to success in attracting foreign direct investment - almost 20% of such investment in the southeast during 2009/10. An excellent location and ever-improving infrastructure, proximity to London, and fast links to Heathrow, all contribute to continued growth. Not surprisingly then, the financial Times fDi Magazine judged Reading to be the European Micro-city of the Future 2012/13 (a micro-city having a population under 250,000) as well as the fifth best European city overall - after London, Moscow, Paris and Vienna.
READING UK CIC - THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMPANY FOR READING
Reading UK CIC is an enterprise that brings together all those sectors that have an interest in sustaining Reading’s world class economy. The company does this through a programme of economic development activities based on:
The Company’s mission is to: promote and sustain the economic development of Reading through programmes that drive its world class economy.
THAMES VALLEY BERKSHIRE LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP
Reading, as part of Thames Valley Berkshire, has a thriving economy, but faces intensified global competition from Europe and the fast emerging Asian economies.
To stay ahead Reading recognises that the region needs to work in a more integrated way, and was pleased to support the creation of the TVB LEP, one of the first wave of LEPs approved by the Government. LEPs have been created at the request of Government to be business-led organisations for promoting the growth agenda in their area. They are independent and serve the interests of their regions at Government level.
TVB LEP will work hard locally, nationally and internationally to retain businesses and attract more here; to ensure a ‘work-ready’ skilled labour force and world-class support initiatives for local businesses. The LEP maximises the partnership between business and local authorities and helps deliver the infrastructure needed to support both the economy and quality of life.
In the next few years our station will be transformed thanks to an £850 million expansion project. Five new platforms will be added, together with a new passenger footbridge and escalators, while lifts will provide step-free access to all platforms. A viaduct to the west of Reading will take fast Great Western main line services over freight and relief lines, allowing the railway to cope as demand for train services increases. The new track will provide space for six extra freight trains each day.
Elsewhere in the town, projects held up due to the recession should gradually come back to life and there are exciting prospects ahead for Green Park, Kennet Island / Southside, Chatham Place and Kenavon Drive to name but a few. these developments have already added significantly to the changing face of Reading and there are ambitious, exciting things still to come.
"Staff is really helpful. Couple of Maintenence issues raised by me during my stay which were dealt promptly. Good service. "