A 40-YEAR saga over a ‘derelict and uninhabitable’ house in Headington could be close to a breakthrough.

Martin Young has owned the property in Old High Street, Headington, since 1976 but moved out more than a decade ago to take care of his mother.

The 77-year-old has had multiple planning applications turned down and said he was holding out for permission for a five-bedroom house.

He said: "I have had sensible discussions with the city council recently and I'm hopeful for some progress after what has been a long and frustrating battle.

"National planning policy at the moment favours development and it should be more difficult for councils to refuse planning permission, particularly with the housing crisis in Oxford."

Mr Young admitted he had been 'stubborn' - as had Oxford City Council - but had fought for too long to give up.

Despite being given permission for a three-bedroom house on the site he said the five-bedroom scheme he proposed would be the only way to make enough money from the site.

Since 2006, the property has remained unoccupied and the landlord has made repeated applications to demolish the house and build a five-bedroom property in its place.

In 2011 neighbours branded it an ‘eyesore’ and Oxford City Council issued an enforcement notice giving him 12 months to fix up the house.

The council then began prosecuting Mr Young but missed the window in which to do so – costing £10,000 of taxpayers’ money.

Mr Young has since obtained planning permission for a three-bed house but said he would continue the fight for a five-bedroom as it would be the only way to make any money on the house.

The developer said he had arranged to meet with council planners again and hoped they would eventually accept his proposals.

Stephen Clarke, Head of Housing and Property Services at Oxford City Council, said: “The council is working with Mr Young to try to assist him in bringing 29 Old High Street back into use. It has been empty for some considerable time, but we are encouraged that Mr Young is engaging and that he is optimistic that the situation with this property will move along soon.

"It is our objective to ensure best use is made of this property and other empty properties around the city.”

Mr Young has also hit the headlines for his involvement in a lengthy court battle over the ownership of a £1m house in Warnborough Road, North Oxford, and for having his collection of 350 guns seized by Thames Valley Police.

He also attempted to use a legal loophole to turn a plot of land in Littlemore, into a waste dump.