The Wokingham Paper

WESTMINSTER DIARY: Matt Rodda’s ballad for Reading Gaol

Matt Rodda

I believe it is important to protect our local heritage and green spaces, both in Woodley, Earley and in the wider Reading and Berkshire area.

I am concerned that Reading’s historic gaol is at risk of being redeveloped as luxury flats, after the Government announced it would sell the site to the highest bidder.

I believe that our precious heritage should be preserved and that the prison should be used to promote the arts and the history of our town and the country as a whole.

Reading Gaol is known across the country and internationally as the place where Oscar Wilde was incarcerated. It is also the burial place of King Henry I and the site includes parts of Reading Abbey, once one of the largest monastic complexes in Medieval Europe.

It is a vital part of our heritage and it needs to be protected. That is why I am calling on the Government to rethink its mistaken approach, and to recognise the enormous value of this unique historic site.

I hope you will support this campaign by signing the petition calling for the prison to be protected and for it to become an arts and heritage hub.

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.

To sign the petition online please follow the link below:

Thank you for your help and support on this important issue.

Matt Rodda is the MP for Reading East, whose constituency includes parts of Woodley and Earley

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