Saturday, 21 October 2017

SODC loses planning applications

A FIRE that ripped through South Oxfordshire District Council?s headquarters destroyed a number of planning applications

A FIRE that ripped through South Oxfordshire District Council?s headquarters destroyed a number of planning applications.

The authority?s online planning system was down for eight days following the suspected arson attack at its headquarters in Crowmarsh Gifford on January 15 but is now back up and running.

A council spokesman said: ?We?re currently predicting a fortnight?s delay in deciding planning applications.

?If you need to apply for planning permission, it would be a great help if you could delay submitting it for a couple of weeks, so we can deal with urgent issues.

?When our systems went down due to the fire, some planning applications were at the stage where we were accepting comments.

?We are extending the deadline for those comments by eight days. This was the length of time our systems were down.

?All planning applications and comments we received either by post or online on Tuesday, January 13 and after were definitely lost in the fire. Please resend your application or comment.?

People can still register to vote, although the council can?t confirm a registration until its systems are fully restored.

However, this won?t affect people?s ability to vote at the elections in May.

While all services are now functioning again, most are operating with fewer staff than usual from the council?s emergency accommodation at Abbey House in Abingdon.

The authority is expected to announce shortly a temporary venue for its employees while it makes a decision on the future of the Crowmarsh Gifford site.

Staff won?t be able to move back into the offices for at least two years and the building may have to be demolished.


Oxfordshire County Council has said that about 85 per cent of the property has been damaged by the fire.

The offices housed about 400 staff, including those in the housing, planning, building control and leisure departments.

District council chief executive David Buckle has said it may be possible to retain the building.

• Andrew Main, 47, of Roke Marsh, was due to appear at Oxford Crown Court today (Friday) accused of one count of arson with intent to endanger life and two of arson reckless as to whether life was endangered.

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