Oxford

South Oxfordshire District Council holds first full meeting since fire

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Media captionSouth Oxfordshire council has released video from within the damaged building

A council whose offices were destroyed by fire has held its first full meeting since the blaze.

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse offices in Crowmarsh Gifford were 85% gutted by a fire on 15 January.

South Oxfordshire District Council held its first full council meeting since the suspected arson attack in a nearby conference centre.

It is unsure whether council workers will ever be able to return to the offices.

Staff are working from Abbey House in Abingdon, the Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot and The Beacon in Wantage as well as from home.

The full council meeting, which is to decide the budget, took place at the Foundation Conference Centre in Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford.

Image caption Two other fires started on the same day at an undertaker's business and a thatched cottage

The planning department was badly damaged and the council has asked people to resubmit proposals sent in via post or online after 13 January.

Leader of the council John Cotton said of the office buildings: "It's in a pretty poor state - it's pretty shocking inside - an assessment is being carried out to see if it's worth the time and effort to repair it."

As well as the council offices, two other fires started shortly after 03:00 GMT at an undertaker's business and a thatched cottage.

Andrew Main, 47, is due to appear at Oxford Crown Court on 10 April 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.

Image copyright Ian negus
Image caption Staff have been working from other buildings or from home since the offices were damaged in the fire

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