From: Reading Borough Council <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 10:15 AM
Subject: Fresh Reading Abbey Funding Bid Imminent
Fresh Reading Abbey Funding Bid Imminent
Reading Borough Council Press Release
PEOPLE are being asked back a fresh bid to help conserve Reading's historic Abbey Quarter, as the Council prepares to bid again for Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) money next month.
Reading Borough Council is in the process of pulling together proposals for the conservation and promotion of the town's Abbey heritage – a unique site of both local and national importance, and a key destination for residents and visitors of Reading.
An online survey has been published today (Jan 3) which residents and visitors are being encouraged to complete over the coming weeks. The survey can be found at http://www.reading.gov.uk/abbeyquarter and asks people how significant they think the Abbey is in heritage terms, whether they support the Council's HLF bid to conserve the Abbey Ruins and Abbey Gate, and if they have any suggestions that would help the Council's bid for funding.
People have until January 31st to submit their completed survey forms. Copies will also be sent to residents and groups who have expressed an interest in the Abbey Quarter in the past.
Paul Gittings, Reading Borough Council's Lead Member for Culture, said:
"The Abbey Quarter is a historic jewel in Reading's crown and the Council has a long standing ambition, not only to conserve it for future generations to enjoy, but to promote it for residents and visitors to the town.
"There was obviously disappointment that previous attempts to gain funding haven't been successful, but we are determined to put forward a bid in February which takes on board all of the feedback received from previous bids. The survey results will be an important part of that process and I would ask as many people as possible to please take a few minutes of their time to make their views known. People's views will be used to tailor the bid before it is submitted next month."
At this stage the Council's new application to HLF will focus on the Abbey Ruins and Abbey Gate, site-wide interpretation, pedestrian signage and a programme of events and activities. The project aims will encourage a wide range of people to visit and engage with the Abbey's heritage through consultation, activities and evaluation.
Working with English Heritage, Reading Borough Council has already completed comprehensive condition surveys and investigations of the Abbey Ruins and Abbey Gate, which are both grade I Listed Buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments. The condition surveys have established a detailed schedule of repairs and a cost plan that will be included in the Council's Lottery funding bid.
You can find more information about the Abbey Quarter Project by following this link to the Reading Museum Website: http://www.readingmuseum.org.uk/get-involved/projects-consultation/abbey-quarter/
Notes for Editors:
Reading's Abbey Quarter has been the traditional civic and ceremonial heart of the county town of Royal Berkshire since the 12th century. The Quarter is defined by the medieval streets and rivers that outline the precinct of Reading Abbey. This area contains the substantial standing remains and buried archaeology of Reading Abbey, telling its story from the foundation by Henry I in 1121 to its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1539.
The Quarter shows evidence of all periods since the Abbey's dissolution: a royal residence, civil war defences, Jane Austen's school, the impressive municipal buildings, Victorian public gardens and Oscar Wilde's infamous Reading Gaol. There are buildings by famous architects including Sir John Soane, A.W.N. Pugin, Alfred Waterhouse and Sir George Gilbert Scott. Significant public sculpture within the Quarter includes Simond's Maiwand Lion and statue of Queen Victoria, and contemporary artworks such as the Oscar Wilde Memorial Walk.
Reading Museum is also located within the Quarter and has important collections relating to the heritage of Reading and the Quarter, particularly Reading Abbey and later Victorian industrial heritage.
The current Abbey precinct area has piecemeal protection under several local and national designations and policies. Key parts of the site are a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and as such are protected under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979; the Abbey Ruins and the Abbey Gate are also Grade I listed.
Reading Borough Council Press Releases can be found online at http://www.reading.gov.uk/news/pressreleases/
Media Contact: Oscar Mortali
Tel: 0118 937 2301