Reading bids to be town of 'cultural and heritage excellence'

Reading Abbey ruins Image copyright Reading Museum
Image caption The Reading Abbey ruins, that closed to the public in summer 2009, are part of the town's Abbey Quarter heritage project

Reading is planning to become an internationally recognised town of "cultural and heritage excellence".

The Berkshire town will stage a Year Of Culture in 2016 to promote it as a "vibrant centre of cultural activity".

It will form part of a 15-year strategy involving the borough council and community groups to develop the town as a tourist destination.

Other aims are to change "negative perceptions" of the town and "enhance Reading's unique heritage assets".

'Made in Reading'

The strategy for culture and heritage has been developed by Reading's Cultural Partnership, which has Reading Festival boss Melvin Benn as its vice chair and includes members from the main political parties.

Its vision is that by 2030 Reading will be recognised as a "centre of creativity with a reputation for cultural and heritage excellence at a regional, national and international level".

Reading borough councillors discussed the plans on Monday night, which include using results of a residents' poll that showed people would like more live music and theatre.

Plans include new artistic commissions and public art, establishing the Abbey Quarter as Reading's heritage quarter and developing an existing "Made in Reading" brand to highlight the work of local arts people.

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