Fire-hit council asks people to resubmit planning applications

Firefighters at the South Oxfordshire District Council building Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A blaze destroyed 85% of the South Oxfordshire District Council offices in Crowmarsh Gifford on 15 January

Planning applications were destroyed in a fire which ripped through council offices.

South Oxfordshire District Council has asked people to resubmit proposals sent in via post or online as all those received after 13 January were damaged.

The blaze destroyed 85% of the offices in Crowmarsh Gifford on 15 January. An undertaker's business and a thatched cottage were also damaged.

Andrew Main, 47, is due in court on Friday charged with arson.

Mr Main, of Rokemarsh Farm, Rokemarsh, has been charged with two counts of arson with intent to endanger life and two of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

He is due to appear at Oxford Crown Court on 30 January.

'Definitely lost'

The council's computer system was down for eight days and the deadline for submitting comments on open planning applications has been correspondingly extended to make up for this.

A spokesperson said: "All planning applications and comments we received either by post or online on Tuesday 13 January and after were definitely lost in the fire.

"Please resend your application or comment."

The council is asking residents not to get in touch "unless you have an urgent enquiry".

There is a fortnight's delay in deciding planning applications and anyone thinking of applying is being asked to wait a couple of weeks.

A spokeswoman for South Oxfordshire District Council said: "We currently have around 80 members of staff working at Abbey House in Abingdon, with other members of staff working from home or from Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot and The Beacon in Wantage.

"By the end of this week, we hope to accommodate another 88 staff in Abbey House."

Image copyright Ian negus
Image caption Salvors have yet to give the go ahead for staff to go back into the fire-ravaged building to retrieve documents and belongings

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