WORK is about to start on the demolition of a derelict council headquarters after it was almost destroyed in a devastating blaze.

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

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

After the possibility of rebuilding the fire-damaged offices was ruled out, a decision was taken last year that the local authorities should return and rebuild a new headquarters.

A council spokesman said contractors were expected to arrive on site on Monday.

He added: “A specialist demolition contractor has been appointed and will be on site from Monday, carrying out preparatory works ahead of demolition.

Jane Murphy, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, which owns the site, said: “We’re working closely with our contractors to minimise disruption to neighbouring residents once demolition work begins and I’d like to thank them in advance for their patience.

“We’re also very grateful to all of our residents and local communities for their understanding during the time that’s passed since the fire.”

The demolition is expected to take about four months.

Following the blaze residents in the village urged the council to make a decision on whether or not it should relocate on a permanent basis.

Traders in the village and in Wallingford were in favour of the council headquarters returning from Milton Park as it would benefit traders.

When council staff were based at Crowmarsh they would often walk into Wallingford to buy their sandwiches or other shopping.