GOODNESS knows there is some hardship in the heads of the valleys. We are always being told we live in a deprived area.

I am not pleading poverty, I took early retirement 16 years ago after 38 years in the massive steel plant that used to be a major part of Ebbw Vale but which amazingly has all been cleared.

However, that is not the reason for this letter. In 1981 I applied for planning permission to build a garage on some waste land near the house my wife and I bought as mortgagees of the then Ebbw Vale Urban District Council.

I built the garage myself, every block and bag of cement totally at my expense.

It was my understanding I would be charged a nominal rent.

That was the case for 25 years. I feel I am now being held to ransom.

The council have brought in auditors who have indicated higher charges.

One year ago they raised them by 300 per cent. This year they will charge a 700 per cent increase on the original.

If this had been the attitude of an 18th or 19th century iron master then we would not have been surprised.

If it had been a cruel land lord in the 1920s then we would have expected the same. But no, this is 2014 and I think it unfair. There are about 400 in this position. Some of them must be really struggling.

Howard Robinson Ebbw Vale Blaenau Gwent