DEMOLITION work has started at council offices destroyed by an arson attack three and a half years ago.

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Council staff have been in temporary accommodation at Milton Park near Didcot after a fire wrecked the councils' headquarters in Crowmarsh Gifford, near Wallingford in January 2015.

Andrew Main, 47, of Rokemarsh, who set them alight along with the neighbouring Howard Chadwick funeral parlour, was detained under the Mental Health Act indefinitely after pleading guilty to four counts of arson with intent to endanger life.

Excavators moved in on-site this week to dismantle the building, with the reception area, pictured, where the fire was started among the first sections to be demolished.

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Contractors have been at theBenson Lane site since early July carrying out preparatory works before starting demolition.

It is expected to take around three months to completely clear the area.

The contractors are salvaging as many leftover materials from the building as possible so that they can be recycled or re-used.

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Council leaders then plan to build a new headquarters on the torched site, which is owned by South Oxfordshire District Council.

Jane Murphy, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, which owns the site, said: “So far, everything is going to plan and the demolition work is being carried out with neighbouring properties in mind.

"We’re continuing to work with the contractors to minimise disruption and I’d once again like to thank residents for their patience."

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