Oxford

Oxfordshire councils 'will not return' to arson offices

The offices Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Andrew Main admitted setting four fires in Crowmarsh Gifford and Rokemarsh at council offices, an undertakers and a thatched cottage

Two councils forced to move after their offices were devastated by a rampaging arsonist will probably never return to their former home, a spokesperson said.

The headquarters of South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils in Crowmarsh Gifford were gutted on 15 January last year.

About 400 staff have been working from home or at temporary sites ever since.

Now, exactly one year on, the councils have confirmed they are looking for a new building on a new site.

Andrew Main, 47, from Rokemarsh, admitted starting the fire and has been detained in a mental health unit.

Updates on this story and more from Oxfordshire

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The burnt-out wreckage of a car that ploughed into the council building moments before it caught fire was found in the foyer
Image copyright Ian Negus
Image caption A total of 27 fire crews tackled the blazes, which were started within 10 minutes of each other shortly after 03:00 GMT

A spokesperson for both councils said: "Whilst no formal decisions have been made, it's likely we won't be returning to Crowmarsh.

"We're focusing on finding a new building on a new site that's fit for purpose and gives the best value for money for our council tax payers.

"We're actively looking at the options for our permanent home and we hope to have a final decision in the next few months."

Both councils are temporarily based at Milton Park in Abingdon after signing a four-year lease.

The estimated cost to the councils of repairing the damage to their offices was put at about £20m.

Image caption About 400 council staff are either based at the building in Milton Park or work from home

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites