A point was made during the Leadership Lunch on Friday about how some towns have achieved city status but done little with it.
Inward investment and grant income seem to be opportunities to exploit with the higher standing but some seem to have felt good enough by simply winning it.
In Reading’s case there are so many opportunities for more overseas investment, since Berkshire is a magnet for foreign firms, that it is one town that stands to make more of it than most.
The exact number of towns to be awarded and the geographical spread of them is still unknown, as is much of the way in which decisions will be made.
But with the prison development on the horizon, situated in the town’s most historic quarter which has been refurbished since the last bid, there is more to shout about this time than previously. The Banksy painting features in one of the photos the council is supplying in its submission.
But also significant has to be the way the town has developed in a cross-party way, something that is more visible now than previously. Friday’s meeting was addressed by the Labour deputy leader of the council alongside the Conservative Mayor.
Both the Labour and Conservative MPs representing Reading East and West are onside and supportive neighbouring MPs include Theresa May, backing the Labour-run council’s bid.
Historically, developments such as the Madejski (now Select Car Leasing) Stadium, involved cross-party dealings which included the one-time Tory hopeful Sir John Madejski working with the Labour council to make it happen.
The criteria on which bids are judged may remain a mystery. But if there were points for being a town where people pulling in the same direction counted, Reading would be in with a great chance.
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