NO ACTION will be taken for the time being over a derelict house in an Oxford conservation area, despite two months having gone by since a city council order to improve it expired.

Oxford City Council had ordered Martin Young, who owns 29 Old High Street, in Headington, to carry out improvement work to the house by Monday, March 12, but nothing was done.

He has appealed against a decision by the council to refuse him permission to demolish the building and replace it with five three-storey houses.

But nothing will be done about the existing house, which has been empty for more than five years, until the planning appeal has been dealt with, the council has confirmed.

Planning officers have said they will wait for the outcome before decided what action to take over his failure to carry out the improvements.

Sarah King, of Friends of Old Headington, said: “The council is in a very difficult position, because money is tight at the moment.

“But this has been going on for a very long time and we wish it could be resolved.

“Mr Young is very determined and there seem to be all sorts of ways he can get around the improvement order.”

A Government planning inspector will hear the appeal, unlikely to take place before July.

The 19th century property has been empty since Mr Young moved into his mother’s house to care for her. Since then its condition has deteriorated.

Mr Young has said the lack of work was due to a “monumental legal tangle” and added: “If the council wants something to happen there soon, I have got to get planning permission for it.”

He said he was putting together a planning application for consent just to restore the existing house.