Reading Borough Council has submitted a bid to the Ministry of Justice to purchase the goal.
BAS Council have agreed to support the campaign and have written to the relevant authorities
Theatre & Arts Reading (TAR) chairman, Melvin Benn issued this statement:
“We are pleased the council has passed this resolution.
However, our position has not changed – TAR will not bid against the council. What we have done is pass on our bid brochure to the council which may help its bid. This is full of information about how we would have turned the site into an arts hub, complete with a pop-up theatre, other performance space, museums, a hotel, digital hub, creative hub and more.
We have also included our list of supporters – from community members to businesses, organisations to official bodies – which TAR has built up over many years campaigning for a new arts hub in Reading, as well as official statements of support from the Arts Council and the University of Reading.
We hope the council is successful in its bid to the MoJ – and we will continue to help in any way we can.”
Matt Rodda MP is calling for Reading Gaol to be saved and turned into an arts hub and museum – to commemorate Oscar Wilde and other important historic events. The Prison is a very important part of Reading’s history. It is believed to also contain the burial place of King Henry I , who established Reading Abbey and it also has a number of other historic links.
The Gaol is under threat of being turned into luxury flats after the Ministry of Justice announced it would sell the site to the highest bidder. Matt said “I am working with a wide range of other local people and organisations and I hope that together we can press for a change of Government policy”.
A recent issue of British Archaeology contains a long article detailing the latest archaeological research into Reading Abbey. It also includes articles bemoaning the Ministry of Justice refusal to publish recent MOLA investigations and a call for a properly resourced public research project.
Meanwhile you can sign the petition here