Rent-free or Subsidised Garages
Voluntary and community sector groups and organisations (VCOs) can apply for a rent-free or subsidised garage which will be subject to a yearly administration fee of £187.20 (inclusive of VAT) for 2023/24, increases are applied in April each year.
Following a meeting of the Commercial and Investment Working Group, the decision was made by Delegated Officer Decision in May 2022 to implement means testing for subsidised garages:
- New scoring system was implemented, with effect from 23 February 2023 for VCOs with an existing arrangement and new VCOs applying for garages. The intention is to create a fairer assessment that is informed by financial capability, and the ability to pay, as well as the impact the group has in the local community.
- These arrangements are subject to an annual monitoring process to understand any changes to partnering arrangements/funding and accounts.
- This review process will be undertaken by the Community Development team, with Garage Services providing supporting information where useful.
At a meeting of the Council’s Executive on 10 July 2012, the following decisions were made in regard to arrangements for letting garages to voluntary and community sector groups and organisations:
- Subsidised rental charges be introduced for voluntary and community sector groups and organisations that currently occupy, or apply to occupy, a Council owned garage.
- The introduction of subsidised rental charges be deferred until the economic climate is more favourable to those groups and organisations.
- When the charges are introduced, the introduction be graduated over a period of time until they reach a maximum of 50% of the prevailing full rent.
- Only voluntary and community sector groups and organisations that can show they are associated with the Town and its residents will be eligible to apply for a subsidised garage. This would be limited to one garage per group or organisation and:
- If the group or organisation is already receiving financial and/or “in kind” support from us, the application will be approved.
- If the group or organisation is not already receiving financial and/or “in kind” support from us, the application will be determined by the Community and Neighbourhood Services Manager against the criteria set out in Appendix B to the report.
- Groups and organisations currently occupying a Council garage rent-free will not be able to apply for additional rent-free or subsidised garages.
- The number of garages available to qualifying voluntary and community sector groups and organisations requiring a rent-free or subsidised garage be initially capped at 100 and kept under review on an annual basis.
- All groups and organisations occupying a rent-free or subsidised Council garage will be required to transfer to a low-demand garage if it is found that the garage that they occupy can be let at the full rent unless the group or organisation agrees to pay the full rent.
- When officers consider it appropriate for a report to come forward to the Executive, they first refer the matter to the relevant Development & Scrutiny Committee(s) to consider the impact on the voluntary sector and community groups and organisations of the charging regime.
- Delegated authority be given to the Strategic Director (Environment), in consultation with the Portfolio Holders for Resources and Community, Health and Older People to change the ‘cap’ of 75 garages for use by the voluntary and community sector.*
*Please note: we currently do not have any garages available under this category. Should you wish to apply, you will be placed on a waiting list.
To apply for a subsidised garage please apply online using the link below.
Garage Management Services
Stevenage Borough Council