Reading Borough Council

Reading Borough Council
Civic Offices
Bridge Street

Phone: 0118 937 3737
Text: 81722

About us

Reading is a large town and unitary authority area in the county of Berkshire, England. It is located in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway. Reading is located 36 miles (58 km) east from Swindon, 24 miles (39 km) south from Oxford, 36 miles (58 km) west of central London, and 14 miles (23 km) north from Basingstoke.

The Borough of Reading has a population of 145,700 (2008 estimate) and the town formed the largest part of the Reading/Wokingham Urban Area which had a population of 369,804 (2001 census). The town is currently represented in the UK parliament by two members, and has been continuously represented there since 1295. For ceremonial purposes the town is in the county of Berkshire and has served as its county town since 1867, previously sharing this status with Abingdon.

The first evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century. Reading was an important centre in the medieval period, as the site of Reading Abbey, a monastery with strong royal connections. The town was seriously impacted by the Civil War, with a major siege and loss of trade, and played a pivotal role in the Revolution of 1688, with that revolution's only significant military action fought on the streets of the town. The 19th century saw the coming of the Great Western Railway and the development of the town's brewing, baking and seed growing businesses.

Today Reading is a commercial centre, with involvement in information technology and insurance, and, despite its proximity to London, has a net inward commuter flow. The town is also a retail centre serving a large area of the Thames Valley, and is home to the University of Reading. Every year it hosts the Reading Festival, one of England's biggest music festivals. Sporting teams based in Reading include Reading Football Club and the London Irish rugby union team, and over 15,000 runners annually compete in the Reading Half Marathon.


We welcome your views…

Reading Borough Council believes in giving local people a real say in the decisions we make on your behalf. Our Working Better With You initiative is all about improving the way we engage with residents, building lasting relationships and finding ways of working better together for the benefit of Reading.

Part of this is ensuring that when we are planning to do something in your community or across the Borough, you have an opportunity to tell us what you think about the proposals so that we can take your views into account as part of the decision-making process.

Equality and Diversity

Equality is fundamental to Reading’s success as a diverse, multicultural and cohesive town. The vision for Reading in 2030 is to see a celebration of the rich diversity of communities across the town, greater equality and inclusion across the town’s communities and a broad, diverse and inclusive cultural life. It is a testament to everyone’s commitment that our 2011 residents’ survey showed that 81% of respondents believe people from different backgrounds get on well together in their local area and 76% of respondents felt they had been treated with respect and consideration by local public services.

Our aims:
  • Celebrate Diversity and Ensure Strong Communities
  • Challenge Discrimination and Hate Crime
  • Enhance Life chances
  • Equality in Employment
  • Make Equality and Inclusion Part of Everything We Do

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