Reading: City of the Year 2019

Reading named City of the Year in Thames Valley Property Awards 2019 (2 May 2019)

PropertyAward TwitterimageReading’s entry for the award, submitted by Reading UK, demonstrated the defacto city’s ambition to be a smart and sustainable city of the future through the Reading 2050 Vision. In addition, Reading has had more than a decade of investment from the business community through the mechanism of the city centre business improvement district, attracted Europe-leading levels of inward investment and boasted a rapidly improving living and working environment for workers and residents alike.

Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director, Reading UK, said: “Reading is a city in all but name, competing with renowned locations across Europe as a leading business location. In recent years, the quality of Reading’s lifestyle and working environment offer has improved dramatically and we now have an ambitious vision to ensure Reading will be a leading smart city of the future. This Award, along with a number of other in the last 12 months, is recognition that Reading is carving out a significant reputation as an important cultural place, a competitive business base and quality living space – in other words, an all-round great city location.”

Reading’s 2050 Vision was developed to support Reading’s economic growth and evolution as a smart and sustainable city. Business led, it has engaged with 21,000 people, 350 businesses and the local authority, supporting the Local Plan in its ambitions for ‘living within environmental limits and ensuring a strong healthy and just society.’ The Vision is demonstrating Reading’s ambitions for the future by focusing on the core strengths at the heart of Reading’s future development.

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The Vision is already shaping Reading’s future development with initiatives such as the Reading-on-Thames Festival; the newly re-opened Reading Abbey being used as a cultural space; a vision for Reading Prison; Reading becoming part of the Great West Way new national tourism trail; a Reading-led Smart City project; a trial of new river services and proposals for a new commuter river service. 

Reading Central Business Improvement District has played a key role in improving facilities and services for residents, visitors and workers over the last 13 years, raising over £7 million extra investment from the private sector for Reading town centre. Services funded include street cleaning, Christmas lights and floral displays as well as street food markets and events. The BID’s excellent track record has persuaded businesses to renew it for a third time and create an Abbey Quarter district to establish it as a world-class business district.

Reading is one of Europe’s leading 25 locations for foreign direct investment, with many South East occupiers gravitating here in the last 12 months.  Reading UK’s new Reading Relocation Guide supports recruitment and retention of staff among existing businesses and helps businesses in relocating their business and people to Reading, from Nokia to KPMG.

The Thames Valley Property Awards are organised by The Business Magazine and were presented at a glitzy awards ceremony at Ascot Racecourse on 2 May.

More information about the awards and the other winners at


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