WORK to reopen the historic Reading Abbey started this week as scaffolding was erected at the 900-year-old ruins.

Conservation of the site started on Tuesday at the South Transept and further renovations are expected to be carried out over the coming months, with a view to opening next year.

The Abbey was closed in 2009 due to concerns over the weakness of the existing structure, with more than £3 million being put forward to restore it to its former glory.

Lottery funding of £1.77 million was handed over in December 2015, while Reading Borough Council is expected to put forward a further £1.38 million.

As part of the restoration, the gate house will be given a new roof and the current framework will be turned into a full scaffold.

The project is being orchestrated by Surrey-based company, CRL restoration, and will culminate in the Grade I listed ruins being open from 2018.