Three tower blocks in Reading which have been plagued by ‘rats the size of the cats’ in recent years are set to be refurbished by the council, with plans submitted this week.

The makeover of the three blocks of flats on Wensley Road, Coley, is the second phase of a scheme from Reading Borough Council (RBC) which includes the development of 46 homes and two play areas in the area, approved in August 2020.

As well as renovation works improve the look of the three tower blocks – 193 Wensley Court, 203 Irving Court and 205 Riversley Court – the works will include changes to the problematic bin situation and fire safety improvements.

Over the last few years, residents have complained of “rats the size of cats” and demanded action on the infestation, with the council struggling to tackle the issue.

READ MORE: ‘Rats like cats’: Reading Borough Council tower block tenants demand action on infestation

All bins will move inside, under the new plans, with the ground floor to be extended to provide increased capacity for refuse and recycling storage and management.

A “robust brick base” will also be put in place at all three buildings up to the second floor window height to prevent rats entering through to the insulation.

The renovation works will include replacement windows, new brickwork and other external refurbishment, and 45 new cycle lockers.

The three tower blocks were built between 1958 and 1960 and last renovated in 1993.

They contain 267 flats in total, with 89 apartments in each block.

How the blocks are expected to look

How the blocks are expected to look

Wensley Court redesign

Wensley Court redesign

A birds eye view of the new look blocks

A bird's eye view of the new look blocks

Another sketch of the blocks

Another sketch of the blocks

The phase two plans also include landscaping works, such as new cycling and walking routes and woodland planting, adding to the works in phase one which feature an activity trail, 5 -11 year olds play area, under-5’s play area and an outdoor gym.

Fire safety is also a big part of the plans, with plans to replace the existing external fabric of the building with a non-combustible system.

Meanwhile, sprinklers and a new fire alarm system are currently being installed.

Additionally, garages displaced by the 46-home development will be replaced.

Construction of the 46 new flats is expected to be complete sometime between December 2022 and March 2023.

READ MORE: Controversial 46-home plan approved by Reading councillors

The council is also planning improvements at the nearby Courage Park, including improved access, lighting and play facilities, while a new hub will replace the current housing management office at Riversley Court.