RENTS for council homes and garages are set to be hiked to help fund a £23 million project to repair Stroud District Council’s housing stock and to help pay for the first new council homes in 20 years.

Council tenants would see a jump in rent of 3.2 per cent, or £2.66 a week on average, amounting to an extra £127.68 a year for the average household.

Meanwhile, renting council garages would rise by 39p to £12.62 a week on average.

For people living at sheltered housing schemes, the charge for maintaining communal facilities, caretaking and cleaning is set to rise by 59p to £22.42 a week.

Included in the measures is the decision to charge up to £45 for pest control services and £25 for returning stray dogs, netting SDC a predicted £32,000.

The price hikes were recommended by SDC’s strategy and resources committee on Thursday and will go before full council on Thursday, January 23.

The rent increases will add around £700,000 to SDC’s coffers, on top of the £20.5 million it already makes from dwelling rents.

The money will fund much-needed repair work on housing stock, which will cost £23 million over five years.

It will also contribute to SDC’s £19.8 million building programme next year, which includes 59 new council homes.

Around £1 million of the housing budget in coming years is being funded by reserves, but the authority will need to find further income, or reduce expenditure, as this money dries up.

Conservative group leader Keith Pearson said: “I think it is a false economy to not increase the rent correctly at this stage because we will never get the money to provide the housing we need later.”

However, Cllr Simon Pickering (Green, Slad) argued that the Right to Buy scheme had reduced SDC’s housing stock and said the council would not need to build houses if it was not in place.

Nineteen council homes were bought in 2013, with another eight predicted to be sold soon.