The council is set to approve the overhaul of tower blocks plagued by ‘rats the size of cats’.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Planning Applications committee will vote on the plans for three Coley tower blocks this evening (July 21).

The bumper planning meeting will also feature the most unpopular planning application in the council’s history.

READ MORE: Reading’s most unpopular planning application set to be refused

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

RBC Planning officers have recommended the Planning Applications committee approve the proposals, saying the plans would “greatly improve” the quality of accommodation for current and future occupiers and improve the design of the building.

‘Rats the size of cats’

Over the past 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.

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.

What else is planned?

The renovation works will also include replacement windows, new brickwork and 45 new cycle lockers.

The plans also include new cycling and walking routes and woodland planting.

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 and sprinklers and a new fire alarm system currently being installed.

RBC is also planning improvements at the nearby Courage Park, including improved access, lighting and play facilities.

The three tower blocks, which contain 267 flats in total, with 89 apartments in each block, were built between 1958 and 1960 and last renovated in 1993.

Reading Chronicle: PICTURED: How the blocks are expected to lookPICTURED: How the blocks are expected to look

The overhaul is part of controversial development of build 46 homes at the site, which is expected to be completed sometime between December 2022 and March 2023.

Among other criticisms, residents have slammed plans to build new roads in Coley as part of the project as a “recipe for disaster”.

READ MORE: ‘Recipe for disaster’ – Concern at plans to build roads outside Coley homes

But the council said these concerns were assessed by the Planning Applications committee when the phase one plans were approved last year.