Homeless people living in a former garage in Iffley Road could be staying in the warm until April after leaseholders Midcounties Co-op put a stop to its eviction process. 

About 15 homeless people set up shelter in a disused VW garage in Iffley Road, on New Year's Eve, and had pleaded with the Midcounties Co-op and owners Wadham College to let them stay there until the end of the winter.

But yesterday Midcounties Co-op launched a claim at Oxford County Court to get them evicted.

Protesters gathered outside the court in St Aldate's urging the firm to let the squatters stay. 

Midcounties Co-op, who claimed they were worried about health and safety, have since inspected the premises and said the inhabitants can stay until its lease expires in April. 

Kevin Brown, Midcounties Co-operative group general manager for specialist services, said: "We successfully adjourned the repossession process on Friday to give us more time to reach a positive outcome.

"We’ve also completed a health and safety inspection of the site.

"The areas affected by asbestos have been cordoned off, and we’re satisfied that the building is safe and that those staying there are taking their duty of care very seriously.

"We are now in very positive negotiations with the legal representatives of Iffley Open House, to allow the group to remain in the property, subject to certain conditions, until our lease expires in April."