Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Council to return to arson attack office site

Council to return to arson attack office site

SOUTH Oxfordshire District Council is to build a new headquarters on the site of its old building, which was destroyed in an arson attack.

Work has already begun to prepare the site in Crowmarsh Gifford for construction work.

The new building will be smaller than the previous offices and will be shared with Vale of White Horse District Council as the two councils share a chief executive and provide some services jointly.

The district council said it considered a number of options for relocation before agreeing that moving back to Crowmarsh Gifford was the most cost-effective. It has not said when the new building will be ready. Council leader John Cotton said: “Crowmarsh has been the home of our council more or less since its inception and it’s great news to be going back home.

“It’s the right choice for the council and it’s the right choice for our residents.

“We’ll lead the way for councils up and down the country by building an excellent and efficient headquarters that we can be proud of.”

The council’s 400 staff have been working from offices at Milton Park, near Didcot, since the fire in January 2015.

A car with gas cannisters inside was driven into the council’s offices, starting a blaze in the early hours.

Twenty-seven fire crews were called to tackle the fire and others at a nearby undertakers and a thatched cottage in Roke. The estimated cost of the damage was £20 million.

In May that year, Andrew Main, of Rokemarsh, near Benson, pleaded guilty at Oxford Crown Court to four counts of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

He was sectioned indefinitely under the Mental Health Act.

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