'Ricky Gervais' Reading movie junction' sale halted
A council has suspended the sale of an iconic site that inspired the name of Ricky Gervais' film Cemetery Junction.
Reading Borough Council planned to sell Cemetery Junction archway at auction due to insufficient funds to maintain it.
But it has now suspended the sale pending a local group's attempt to purchase it.
The Junction Arch Heritage and Arts (JHAH) hopes the Grade II site can become a heritage hub.
The group has applied for National Lottery Heritage Funding to purchase the landmark, which featured in Gervais' 2010 coming-of-age movie.
The council announced earlier this month that due to "cuts to our budgets imposed by the government" it could no longer maintain the site and planned to sell the 250-year lease for £100,000.
But on hearing of the group's bid to transform the archway into a community space, it decided to withdraw it from auction "for some time".
It said in a statement it wished the group "every success".
The arch was built in 1840 and originally served as a grand ornamental gatehouse to Reading Old Cemetery.
JHAH said it would focus on the heritage and arts of the diverse local community and provide a space for the community to come together and "share their stories".
Community director Nick Cooksey said: "Reading is a town steeped in history, which, like other towns and cities in the UK, is experiencing huge regeneration and expansion.
"Although Reading's heritage is being recognised at sites such as Reading Abbey and the prison, it is important to recognise that heritage is as much about places like the Cemetery Junction arch and the stories of ordinary people as it is about Kings and famous writers."