Oxford

Oxford University college squat to be demolished

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Media captionCampaigners and homeless people began Iffley Road Open House on New Year's Eve

A college building used by squatters is set to be demolished in March, its owners have said.

Squatters in Oxford took over the site, which has laid vacant for two years, on New Year's Eve.

Owners Wadham College said the current leaseholders were "taking steps to recover possession".

The Oxford University college added the building on Iffley Road is set to be turned into student accommodation, subject to planning permission.

A spokesperson for the college said: "The ground floor of the property is currently let to The Midcounties Co-operative Investments Ltd who, we understand, are taking steps to recover possession."

The former car showroom currently shelters 14 people. On Monday Lewis Cairns, who is homeless and living in the squat, described it as a "godsend".

Campaigners have asked for the site to be officially designated as homeless housing.

The college said it regularly fundraised for a local homeless charity and was also contributing £900,000 to social housing in the city.

A spokesperson said: "In relation to the Iffley Road property, [we will] construct new student accommodation, which will be particularly important for students of more modest means."

The Midcounties Co-operative has been approached for comment.

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