BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 303

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 303

IELTS ACADEMIC READING TEST – PASSAGE – 2

 IELTS Academic Reading Test

IELTS ACADEMIC READING TEST

READING PASSAGE – 2

THE COUNCIL’S TOWN-CENTRE

A

On a summer’s day, apart from the intermittent drizzle and lowering sky, South Street in Romford looks as close to an Englishman’s dream of a continental-style piazza as it is possible to get. Leafy trees line the extended pavements crowded with seats and tables as young families, pensioners, teenagers and businessmen tuck into a variety of faux-European dishes for lunch. Local cafes serve the full range of meaningless variations on the theme of coffee, from cappuccino through mochaccino to doppos, all at top prices. Round the corner, in the Market Place, it is French week. There are several stalls, complete with real Frenchmen, selling claret and cheeses.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

B

The cafes are open during the day, and the clubs stay open until two or three in the morning most nights. In this respect, Romford is typical of contemporary Britain. In the late 1980s, the centres of many towns and cities went into decline as retailers, and particularly supermarkets, moved to new big, out-of-town shopping centres.

So in the early 1990s, many local councils, in league with local businesses, re-developed their increasingly desolate town centres into “leisure zones”. They looked to continental Europe for the inspiration to create modern 24-hour environments, mixing cafes, bars and clubs to keep people in the centres spending money for as long as possible.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

C

By night however, South Street turns into a very different place. The street becomes a mass of 18-26-year-olds, drinking as much as they can. For anyone else, the place becomes almost a no-go area. Gillian Balfe, the council’s town-centre manager and a strong supporter of the “leisuring” of South Street, concedes that the crowds become uncontrollable, and the atmosphere quickly turns “hostile and threatening”. Buses are now barred from going down South Street after 9.30pm: there are too many drunken people milling about.

D

In a survey for the local council done last year, 49% of the residents of the surrounding areas of South Street confessed that they did not want to come to the city centre any more for fear of crime. The local police concede that they are virtually overwhelmed. Violence is commonplace. There has only been one consequent fatality in the area in the past couple of years, but the police say that this is mainly thanks to the merciful proximity of the local hospital. Romford’s dilemma is typical of what has happened in the other “leisure zones” in towns and cities throughout the country.

What were meant to be civilised places for entertainment and shopping have too often turned into alcoholic ghettos for the young.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

E

For all the problems, however, Romford’s local authority thinks that the idea of a 24-hourcity is already too profitable to be stopped. Local authorities think that new repressive legislation, or even a decision not to reform the licensing laws, would be unworkable. So instead of trying to pack everyone back off to bed, Romford is trying to reclaim the town centre for a broader mix of people, and so to fulfil the original ambitionsofthe24-hour-city dreamers.

F

The first part of the strategy involves security. The police accept that, with their current resources, they will never be able to make South Street safe on their own. So they now work closely with the 528 “door-staff “, previously known as bouncers, to target drug-dealers in the bars and clubs. In the year since that scheme came into effect, there have been more than 300 arrests for drugs. In the six months before that, there had been only one. All the premises now have a radio link to the police station for an instant response to trouble.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

G

The second part of the strategy involves trying to encourage more, and different kinds of people to use the town centre at night. New attractions are opening next year to rival the pubs. On the site of the old Romford brewery there will be a 16-screen cinema and a 24-hour supermarket. A new health and leisure centre, open on some nights until 9pm, starts up soon. The hope is that these facilities will draw in a different, more sober and ethnically diverse crowd. The police have bravely encouraged one club to start a gay night on Wednesdays.

H

Together with other measures such as better street lighting, Romford hopes that it can show that the phrase “24-hour city” can be more than a euphemism for an all-night drinkathon. As the new licensing laws delegate the job of granting alcohol licences to local councils, cities across England will be trying to reclaim the night.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 14-18

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 14-18 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

14   why some local people stay out of the centre at night

15   howcommunication with the police has been made faster

16   reasonsbehindthegrowthininner-cityleisurevenues

17   examples of Romford’s similarity to mainland Europe

18   how illegal substances are being controlled

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 19-26

Complete the summary below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage.

In an attempt to get a wider variety of 19……………. into the 20……………. at night time, the local government and private organisations are going to provide different kinds of 21…………….. Some examples include a 22……………. and a 24-hour supermarket. They hope this will encourage people who are different 23……………., and not drunk, to use the city-centre 24…………….. The local government of Romford thinks that with these 25……………. in place it will be able to 26……………. the city centre in the evenings.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

ANSWERS ARE BELOW

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BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 303
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IELTS Academic Reading Test

ANSWERS

14. D

15. F

16. B

17. A

18. F

19. PEOPLE

20. CENTER

21. ATTRACTIONS

22. CINEMA

23. ETHNICALLY

24. FACILITIES

25. MEASURES

26. RECLAIM

IELTS Academic Reading Test

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