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Angus Council delays £5m upgrades on 1,400 ‘outdated’ residential garages

Angus House council HQ.
Angus House council HQ.

Finance chiefs are facing a £5 million headache over the area’s 1,400 council house garages after admitting the stock is past its sell-by date.

An improvement programme for garages across the county is on Angus Council’s housing capital plan, but major financial commitment to the project has been parked for future years after councillors were told the prime objective at present is to secure a break even position on any upgrades.

Garage rents are levied at the rate of £5.43 a week for council tenants and £6.52 for everyone else, with garage spaces currently available in Arbroath, Brechin, Forfar, Friockheim, Kirriemuir, Monifieth and Montrose.

However, many were constructed decades ago for much smaller family cars and the trend towards SUVs and larger vehicles has led to garage tenants discovering their pride and joy is too big for the dated dimensions.

Housing manager John Morrow said the aim is not to use other department income towards the garages.

“We try to make it sustainable, but the garage stock is outdated,” he told the authority’s communities committee.

“They are very small. We want to make them wind and watertight and are trying to put in place an improvement programme from the income we get, rather than taking away investment from housing.

“It’s about getting a balance.”

Mr Morrow’s garage comments came after Montrose SNP councillor Bill Duff sought an assurance over the wider housing investment programme due to what he said was a “drop off” in a number of projects.

Mr Duff said: “Our business is housing and our tenants are customers so it is disappointing some of our customers are not getting improvements as soon as they thought they might.

“I am looking for a confidence factor that we are going to hit this £18million budget this year and I feel we need to keep a strong focus on this and deliver what we promise,” he said.

Mr Morrow replied: “It is a large figure, based on realism.

“I appreciate customers are sometimes having to wait longer for things like kitchens and bathrooms but one of the reasons for the rephrasing in the programme is that the consultation with them is a lot more in depth.”

The first phase of a seven-year bathroom replacement programme for 6,500 council homes across Angus recently got under way in Brechin and Montrose as part of a £12m investment.

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