Amble garage tenants handed notice to quit as council proposes affordable homes
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Northumberland County Council sent letters to tenants explaining that a high proportion of garages need a considerable amount of repair and investment to be brought to standard, and that in the current financial climate the authority must re-evaluate its assets.
It says empty garages increase risk of anti-social behaviour so the decision was made to terminate tenancy contracts across several sites to explore proposals to turn them into affordable social rented bungalows, owned and managed by the council.
The council also revealed approximately 17 households renting a garage live over 0.5 miles away and freeing up land for potential development of affordable residential development would be a continuation of previous garage clearance in the area.
The notices to quit have sparked controversy on social media, with some users stating that there are council bungalows that have lain empty for over 12 months.
Parking in Amble has become a problem for residents due to terraced houses with on street parking and many homes now own two cars or more. Some people rented a garage to alleviate parking on the street.
However, the council stated that the garages won’t house many modern cars and many weren’t being used for purpose. According to some users, their cars do fit in the garages.
Tenants on Kennedy Road have been told to empty garages and send keys back by November 20 or locks will be changed and charges may be made for disposal of anything left inside.
Cllr Colin Horncastle, cabinet member with responsibility for looking after our environment, said: “In the current financial climate, the council needs to review the use of its assets and the old garages in Amble are being included in this work.
“In tandem we have thousands of people on our Northumberland Homefinder register who are desperately looking for an affordable accessible home to live in.
"The cost-of-living crisis and rising interest rates means people cannot afford to buy their own property; private rental incomes have risen substantially, and so additional affordable rented homes are required.
“The council is working hard to find suitable brownfield development sites to provide more affordable homes for local people in housing need. Subject to them being deemed appropriate in planning terms, the old garage sites are one such potential location where we are exploring the development of affordable rented bungalows.
“The decision to terminate the garage tenancies wasn’t an easy decision but sometimes we really have to make some hard choices – and this unfortunately is one of them.
"We have the support of the Amble Town Council, Amble Development Trust and the local county councillor.
"We also understand it may not be a popular decision with the garage tenants and we are committed to working with them where help is needed. However, providing more affordable housing really has to be our top priority.”
Any proposals will be put through the planning system and all residents will have the chance to comment on such proposals.