Oxford

Squatters move to another Oxford University building

Osney Mill Image copyright Bill Nicholls
Image caption A group of squatters moved into Osney Mill, owned by Oxford University, after being told to vacate a car showroom owned by Wadham College

Squatters who took over a building owned by an Oxford college have moved to another university building.

The group, known as Iffley Open House, took over a car showroom owned by Wadham College in the city but left earlier after being told to move out.

However, on Sunday, 25 people, the majority of them homeless, claimed squatters' rights in an old power station owned by Said Business School.

A spokeswoman said the university was working to resolve the situation.

'Sympathise with plight'

The group had been using an old car showroom as a homeless shelter since New Year's Eve.

Wadham College told the squatters to leave because pre-demolition work was set to begin.

It plans to build a 135-bedroom development for students at the site on Iffley Road, in east Oxford.

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Media captionIffley Open House homeless group left the car showroom earlier

The squatters have now taken refuge in a former power station in Osney, west of the city centre.

Ten volunteers are thought to be working with the homeless people.

A spokesman for the group, Neo, told the BBC the group was "in and settled".

He said there were between 15 and 16 people who were homeless, while the rest were volunteers.

He asked if the university could let them stay there until April: "We will leave amicably when the weather changes - unless they are prepared to let us stay there forever, which would be awesome, but I doubt."

He said by the time came to leave, he hoped some of the homeless would have jobs and other places to go anyway.

The university's spokeswoman added: "The university sympathises with the plight of these homeless people who need somewhere safe to live and has been speaking with their representatives about how to resolve the situation."

Image caption Inside the former power station in Oxford which is owned by the University of Oxford's Said Business School

At the scene Paul Jenner, BBC News

This is a vast site, although the group of homeless people are only using a small part of it.

There are piles of sleeping bags in bin bags in one of the adjoining rooms, along with makeshift dormitories.

Through to the centre of the building are four sofas, along with a table made out of crates, and even a yellow rose on the table in an attempt to create a home from home.

It is pretty cold inside and it doesn't seem a safe environment because of its industrial past, but one homeless man tells me that it beats being out on the streets any day.

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