RESIDENTS are facing another major rise in the cost of renting a garage from Colchester Council.

Fees at Colchester Borough Homes sites across the borough will rise by as much as 20 per cent from April 1, the second year in a row many have seen a similar increase.

The authority insists its sites remain good value for money, however, some councillors have asked for further explanation about the change.

Dave Smith has rented a garage from Colchester Borough Homes for nearly 20 years.

He said in the past two years the cost has increased by roughly 45 per cent, from £12.14 a week (£631 a year) in 2017 to £17.55 this year (£912 a year).

He said: “Last year prices rose by 20 per cent and this year they are going up by 20 per cent again.

“They’re now trying to charge me £17.50 a week and I am thinking about giving it up. You expect prices to increase every year as the cost of living goes up but this increase is ridiculous.

“It is a lot of money and I am seriously considering whether I can afford to keep it.”

Mike Lilley (Lab, Old Heath and The Hythe) said he first heard about the changes from a resident. He said: “I have spoke to councillor Lee Scordis and he has already written a letter to the cabinet member Tina Bourne.

“We want to know what this is about because it is a really substantial increase.

“Some of the garages in our ward have still not been renovated so to justify the extra money for a run down garage will be difficult.”

A spokesman for Colchester Council said the policy for garage rents changed last year. He said: “Previously, annual rent increases were calculated using a formula based on the Consumer Price Index plus 1 per cent, but that no longer applies.

“Instead, the rent increase is now reviewed annually and any rise determined by the portfolio holder.”

There are two rental charges - high demand and standard.

The spokesman said: “These charges are based on a combination of the condition and improvement of the garage and its popularity.

“Our current rents still represent good value for money when compared with other commercially-available garage or storage facilities.

“The council continues to invest in its garage sites, with an annual programme of works totalling £425,000 in 2018/19 and 2019/20.”