THE plan to demolish a delapidated hostel and build housing has been welcomed.

Marywood Hostel in Wood Farm has been repeatedly vandalised after lying empty for about 15 years.

But now a housing association has put forward a planning application to turn the Leiden Road site into 23 flats.

Advance supports more than 5,000 people in the UK with long-term disabilities and says nine of the homes will be for people with learning difficulties.

Oxford City Council is now considering the planning application and officers are aiming to make a decision in September.

Wood Farm man Pete Bonney, 75, said he was glad to see work progress to tidy up the site which was a former hostel for those with learning difficulties.

He said: “It is about time. It has been a disgrace. If something is going to be done it is going to be appreciated, not just because it is being tidied up, but because they are doing something with valuable land and it is needed.”

Liz Brighouse, Labour county councillor for Churchill and Lye Valley, said: “I think it is very good. At long last we are going to get the site developed.

Oxford Mail:

Councillor Liz Brighouse

“It has been a blot on the landscape for 13 years and longer. Getting the site used and cleared up and making that corner look better will be really good.”

And she added: “The fact that there is going to be some housing for people with disabilities is excellent.”

The development would consist of two buildings of two and three storeys to provide the nine supported housing flats, two one-bed flats and 12 two-bed flats to be put on the housing market.

It will also include 20 car parking spaces, space for bikes, and landscape work.

Advance held a consultation event at Wood Farm Primary School in May before the bid went to the council.

Eric Brown, investment development manager, said the plans had not changed much following the event.

He said: “There was not a huge turnout but the comments we got back were relatively positive. People had seen the site stand empty for years and they were pleased to see something happening.

“Some people had small concerns about access but there is nothing that gave us concern that we had to amend the application.”

He said work could start early next year and would take about a year.