A DILAPIDATED building which has been hit by vandals on Oxford’s Wood Farm estate is to make way for housing.
Plans for the former Marywood Hostel – empty for 15 years – feature 24 apartments and accommodation for people with learning disabilities.
“I’m really pleased it’s actually happening now,” said Labour county councillor Liz Brighouse, whose Churchill and Lye Valley division covers the site in Leiden Road.
“I think it’s a very good development.”
The new apartments will go on the site of the former residential hostel for people with learning disabilities that has been vacant more than a decade.
The building, which has been vandalised in the past, will be demolished.
“It’s awful that it hasn’t been used when there is a housing shortage,” said Mrs Brighouse.
Although housing association Advance has been in discussions with Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council for a year, the development is still in its early consultation phase.
Graeme Jackson, Advance’s head of housing development, said he hoped building would commence in the 2014-2015 financial year.
Ten apartments will be set aside for people with learning disabilities, at an expected cost of about £1.3 m.
Mr Jackson said: “The county council want to move people (with disabilities) away from registered care into a more independent living environment.”
Total costs for the overall development have not been disclosed. A building contractor is yet to be appointed.
The remaining 14 apartments “will either be put up for rent or sale, depending on what the planners want,” said Mr Jackson.
Mrs Brighouse said the 14 flats should be “affordable housing” because of spiralling house prices in Oxford.
The county councillor said she had raised the prospect of allowing some apartments to have shared ownership – whereoccupants partly own their home and pay rent to the other co-owner.
Mr Jackson said the ultimate decision rested with the city council’s planners.
The city council transferred ownership of the Marywood Hostel site to the county council in order to build the hostel many years ago.
Advance, which has been around for four decades, supports more than 5,000 people in the UK with long-term disabilities.
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