Designs revealed for new 'sustainable' council building in South Oxfordshire

PICS: South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils

It's been five years since an arson attack left the offices severely fire damaged.

A huge blaze engulfed the building in Crowmarsh Gifford in an arson attack - which also saw a local funeral parlour and thatched cottage set alight.

The fires were all started within 10 minutes of each other in the early hours of January 15th, 2015.

Now, as both South Oxfordshire and the Vale District Councils prepare to move back in, residents and staff can comment on the new building during an exhibition at their temporary home on Milton Park.

The designs - which are on display unitl 7pm today (13/02) - have been described as 'sustainable' and officials say the new offices will help the local authority's reduce their impact on the environment.

People can also give their thoughts on a shortlist of names for the new headquarters on Benson Lane.

South and Vale wouldn't comment on the cost of the development, saying it will publish full detailed costs once the procurement processes have come to an end.

But the councils say they are aiming for a 'good quality building that allows sustainability options to be incorporated' and to create a site that 'has a positive impact on organisational culture and staff morale.'

Andrew Main, of Rokemarsh near Wallingford - who was 47 at the time - admitted starting the fires and was detained in a mental health unit in May 2015.

The estimated cost of damage was about £20million.


Ridge, the council's design and project management contractor, is behind the project.

Demolition started at the fire-destroyed former headquarters in 2018.

Councillor Andrea Powell, the Cabinet member on this project says "We listened to the comments from the public, our neighbours in Crowmarsh Gifford, staff and councillors when we asked what they wanted from the new offices last year.

"We hope that much of that feedback is reflected in the design ideas that they will see at our event. It is important to us as a council that central to this new building is sustainability and a green, clean way of working. This is about investing sensibly now to reduce our future impact on the environment."

Over the course of the design and build phase of the project, the councils intend to publish details of the decisions made around sustainability elements of the building, along with compromises that may need to be made for cost-effectiveness - and how those compromises can be offset elsewhere.

The exhibition and feedback day is taking place at 135 Milton Park, Abingdon, OX14 4SB.

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