PLANS are being put forward to use neglected garage sites across the district to build the first set of council homes in 20 years.

Sites across Dursley, Cam, Wotton-under-Edge and Berkeley are being considered for redevelopment after Stroud District Council set a target of building 100 new houses in the next five years.

All council-owned garages have been prioritised in terms of how easy it would be to develop them into houses and on the housing demand in that area.

Those regarded as "easy" to redevelop include garages in the Draycott and The Crapen areas of Cam.

In Dursley, the 10 garages at Welling Close are just some being considered for the councilÕs plan. Others on the list up for deliberation are the garages on Fishers Road as well as in Lower Berry Croft in Berkeley.

Wotton-under-Edge has over 50 garages that are being reviewed, with those at Dryleaze Court considered to be relatively easy to develop.

Although the district council will not receive government funding for the building programme, it will be able to retain all gains made from its housing stock, with the hope of saving money in the long term.

The locations for the first wave of housing have yet to be decided as the council waits for feasibility studies to be carried out in the next couple of weeks.

When sites are earmarked, the current tenants of the garages and nearby residents will be contacted regarding the plans.

In October the council recorded that 3,074 new homes were required to fill current demand for social housing.

Cllr Mattie Ross, executive lead for housing, explained the benefits of the move.

"For a start they are brownfield sites so they will not be spoiling green field areas and secondly they are already owned by the council, so we can afford to build higher spec houses.

"Good housing has an effect on everyoneÕs lives. Bad housing has a very detrimental effect on people.

"I think we have been very brave making this move and I am glad we have grabbed this opportunity and can get on with it."