HOMELESSNESS campaigners gathered outside Saïd Business School to raise concerns over the number of empty buildings in the city.

Oxford University students organised the protest in support of the Osney Open House group, formerly Iffley Open House, which is helping more than a dozen homeless people taking residence in Osney Power Station.

The demonstration in Frideswide Square was timed to coincide with the third annual Oxford Real Estate Conference, hosted by the business school.

Spokesman for the Open House group Neo said: “This is an issue everyone should be concerned about as it’s to do with everyone.

“It’s about making people aware that we don’t need more investment in empty buildings. We need investment in the community of Oxford.

“This is a humanitarian issue, and what I would like to see is something put in place permenantly”

On Sunday afternoon, members of Osney Open House, a group of activists and volunteers which has supported about 20 homeless people over the winter, entered the disused power station site in Arthur Street and claimed squatters’ rights.

The university, which owns the building, has said it is ‘too concerned’ for the occupiers’ safety to let them stay and is applying to the courts this week.

A university spokesman said: “We are deeply sympathetic to the plight of homeless people who need somewhere safe to live, but unfortunately, Osney Power Station is not a safe place to live because it carries serious risks to its occupants, including falling masonry.

“We intend to apply for an interim possession order as soon as possible this week because of our concern for the safety of the people occupying the building.

“The Iffley Open House group has done very well to raise awareness of the challenges facing the homeless and we hope to meet with representatives from the group this week to discuss this occupation and the wider issues of homelessness in Oxford.”