WORK could soon begin on revamping a housing block which has sat empty for nearly a decade.

Marywood House in Wood Farm, Oxford, was closed by Oxfordshire County Council in 2003 and residents have been frustrated it has remained unused for so long, branding it an “eyesore”.

But the council is now planning to sell the site for re-development as housing, including community facilities and social housing.

In May 2003 a planning application to redevelop the building, formerly housing for people with learning difficulties, into homes was thrown out by Oxford City Council because it did not contain any social housing.

An appeal was later dismissed by a planning inspector in 2005.

Oxford’s Local Plan said in 2005 the site could be used for housing but only if community and primary health care facilities were provided.

County council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said that community facilities had now been included in the plans for the site, meaning work could go ahead.

He said: “The development of the site could not be progressed until community facilities for the area had been satisfactorily accommodated.

“This has recently been resolved, meaning that matters at the Marywood House site can now be progressed.

“The county council plans to market the Marywood House site for development in the near future and this development is expected to include affordable housing.”

Marywood House in Leiden Road had 25 flats and was closed so the county council could sell it and reinvest the proceeds into social and health care.

The site has since been boarded up and was secured with padlocked fencing.

Wood Farm resident Peter Bonney said it was disgraceful the building had been empty for so long.

He added: “They have even got security guards checking it out, so who is paying for those?

“I would like to see it knocked down and rebuilt. It is overgrown and an eyesore.

“It reflects badly on Wood Farm.

“They say there is no affordable housing in Oxford so why don’t they build something here?”