THURROCK Council is set to spend more than £500,000 by the end of 2022 on transforming its rundown garages.

The council has 2,227 garages and 290 garage plots across the borough. Major structural work is being carried out on 201 garages, with roof replacements for some alternative uses for others.

The council is set to bring in consultants to survey its garage stock for its long-term potential or to see whether it can be “considered for other uses that would better serve the community and the borough. Capital spending on the garages has more than doubled sine 2020/21, when the council outlay was £205,000.

The work has meant more garages can be let bringing in extra income for the council. The council's annual income from lettings has gone from £863,000 last year to a forecast £959,000 by the end of the financial year.

A report to the council’s housing overview and scrutiny committee which will meet on Tuesday, said: “The reduction of garage voids and increased income by improving turnaround for both repairs and lettings undoubtedly demonstrates that we are providing better service for money.

“Over the last year, we have completed ten major works schemes and have more planned for this year. We have undertaken extensive rooftop overgrowth clearances at six garage sites, this was to reduce the risk of roof damage, damp penetration and structural issues.

The survey will start next year, with councillors receiving a report by May.

The project has already seen derelict garages in Chadwell St Mary turned into bungalows.

The council worked with its repairs contractor Mears in partnership with HUSK, a garage conversion system, in Defoe Parade. Two single-storey adapted bungalows for people with mobility problems have been fitted within the existing garage brickwork.

Luke Spillman councillor responsible for housing said: “This exciting and innovative solution has transformed garages that were frequently vandalised and fly-tipped at into two fully adapted, contemporary family homes in a very short timeframe.

“I’m delighted that our teams and partners have achieved so much with this successful pilot which residents on our housing register can benefit from and enjoy. We are committed to providing new, high-quality affordable council homes and are considering other similar garage sites with potential for development under this project.”