The Group had before it a report * from the Corporate Manager for Public Health, Regulation and Housing and the Building Services Operations Manager providing an update to Members on the current garage stock situation, with plans for modernisations and opportunities for change of use/redevelopment, and the adoption of a 6 year rather than the existing 12 year planned maintenance programme.
The following was referenced within the report:
· There had been an annual budget of £75k to support a planned maintenance programme of the council’s garage stock. Overall occupancy was currently at 70% although of the 199 garages that had been modernised 83% were now occupied.
· The report provided an annexe showing all garage sites, exact occupancy rates and the condition of each site.
· A number of garages had been identified as having the potential for alternative uses.
· There was an opportunity to bring forward increased occupancy and income by doubling the rate of modernisation and reducing this from a 12 yearly to a 6 yearly planned maintenance programme. There was capacity within the Building Services team to meet this programme but not if it were to be shortened to fewer than 6 years
Consideration was given to:
· Many garages were now too small for the size of modern cars.
· The garages at Eastlands in Hemyock were not shown within the annexe as they were ground rent plots.
· Significant problems with asbestos and how it was to be dealt with safely.
· Increasing number of voids over recent years and the effect of this on income.
· The Group appreciated the work that had gone into the report.
· The very poor state of repair of many garages with vegetation growing inside and out.
· Derelict garages within the Cranmore Ward.
· The dangers presented to children and families living near to some of these garages.
· The importance of the need to keep Ward Members updated and involved with any garage plans going forwards. Also, for Ward Members to bring particular issues to the attention of the neighbourhood teams so issues could be addressed.
· It was confirmed that Members would be involved in the consultation process, as of course, would tenants.
· The possibility of demolishing some garages and providing social housing or parking bays would be explored.
· A programme of garage maintenance and modernisation would be provided for the whole of the district not just one particular part of it.
· A 6 yearly programme was realistic and could be achievable.
· The possibility of providing one large garage rather then 2 small ones was discussed as was the provision of electric charging points.
· Key considerations would be demand, conditions and suitability for development. Some sites may not be suitable for development. Each site would need to be assessed individually.
· In considering the recommendation, the Group discussed whether the stated ‘maintenance’ programme also included ‘modernisation’? The Corporate Manager for Public Health, Regulation and housing stated that it did, they were part and parcel of the planned programme and the Leader of the Council confirmed that when the recommendation came forward to the Cabinet, approval would be considered on that basis.
RECOMMENDED to the Cabinet that the adoption of a 6 yearly planned garage maintenance programme by bringing forward budgeted funds from future years be approved.
(Proposed by Cllr L Cruwys and seconded by Cllr S Clist)
Reason for the decision:
In order to recommend the adoption of a 6 yearly planned garage maintenance and modernisation programme by bringing forward budgeted funds from future years.
Note: * Report previously circulated; copy attached to the signed minutes.