Oxford

Councils will build new HQ at site of arson-hit offices

Image copyright Ian Negus
Image caption About 400 people were based at the former headquarters in Crowmarsh Gifford

Two councils are to return to offices which were wrecked in an arson attack.

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have been in temporary accommodation since the fire at Crowmarsh Gifford in January 2015.

They now plan to build a new smaller headquarters at the site owned by South Oxfordshire District Council.

Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, Matthew Barber, said the move offered the best value for residents.

Other options were explored, but John Cotton, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, agreed it was the "right choice".

Image caption About 100 firefighters and 30 fire engines were deployed to tackle the fire in 2015

Both authorities are currently based at Milton Park, Didcot, where they moved six months after the fire.

The new building will include a council chamber for South Oxfordshire District Council's meetings.

Vale of White Horse District Council's committees will continue using The Beacon in Wantage.

Andrew Main, 47, from Rokemarsh, admitted starting the blaze at Crowmarsh Gifford and was detained in a mental health unit in May 2015.

He also admitted to setting fires which caused major damage to an undertakers and a thatched cottage

Oxford Crown Court heard the estimated cost of damage from the fires was about £20m.

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Media captionThe two councils released footage of the damage following the fire

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