Sponsor a roundabout!

Whitley Pump - May 2016

The Whitley Pump roundabout is one of nineteen Reading roundabouts that can be sponsored.

Changes are afoot!

The budget strapped council hopes to raise £150,000 each year from 1 April 2017 through advertising and sponsorship schemes, reporting that:

Further growth in income is anticipated from 2018/19 although this cannot be quantified at this stage.

This was one of the income generating proposals agreed at the 5 December policy committee and will not require public consultation.

The meeting discussed changes in the council’s budget and sponsorship policies to increase income. One policy concerns advertising on assets directly managed by the council, such as roundabouts, and the other concerns “contracted out advertising arrangements on council assets secured by third party commercial agents or partner organisations”.

Advertising of alcohol and gambling will now be allowed on “contracted out” locations, subject to conditions:

Advertisements for gambling or betting industry associated products and services upon council owned assets must display suitable ‘industry adopted’ cautionary messages, such as ‘when the fun stops, stop’ or other as may be adopted from time to time.

Advertisements for alcohol industry associated products and services upon council owned assets must display suitable ‘industry adopted’ cautionary messages, such as ‘Drink Responsibly’ or other as may be adopted from time to time.

These changes are designed to make Reading a more attractive location for advertisers. Advertising for alcohol and gambling will still not be permitted on sites directly managed by the council.

Council policies prohibit advertising for e-cigarettes and vaping, in line with European regulations agreed in 2014. In addition, advertising or sponsorship from fossil fuel companies will be banned.

Councillor Rob White did not support the changes:

The more advertising that there is for these products, the more it normalises their use and the more problems it creates. The report is taking the line that the council doesn’t really like advertising gambling and alcohol but as long as no one thinks it is connected to the council we’ll take the money and hope no one notices the hypocrisy… [01:11:42]

Councillor Jo Lovelock did not agree that changes were being “sneaked through” and would have an impact on habits [01:13:04]. The recommendation was accepted.

Two applications were discussed later at the planning applications committee to allow new advertising and sponsorship locations in Reading.

The committee agreed to an application (161400) for advertising banners on Broad Street attached to 30 existing lamp posts. It also agreed to allow the application (161826) for sponsorship of five of the ‘Welcome to Reading’ signs at borough boundaries.

Councillor Sarah-Jane Hacker asked for sponsorship signs that reflected some of Reading’s heritage:

What I would like to see is when… people get the option to sponsor these signs we might try and persuade them to pay for something a little more exciting than the current Reading signs.

They don’t reflect… the rich cultural heritage of the town and I sometimes feel quite jealous driving around the countryside and I see the birthplace of this person and famous whatever…

We’ve got the Reading Festival, we’ve got Henry I, we have Jane Austen… so it would be lovely if [we] make them a bit more interesting and make visitors to the town really appreciate what we’ve got. [01:58:14]


  1. Reading Borough Council Policy Committee, 5 December 2016 – papers and  webcast
  2. Policy Committee 5 December 2016 – Advertising and Sponsorship
  3. Reading Borough Council Roundabout Sponsorship
  4. Reading Borough Council Planning Applications Committee, 7 December 2016 – papers and webcast