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‘How can the council force me to sell my family home?
AN academic who could be forced to sell her home to Oxford City Council after abandoning it over fears for her safety has vowed to fight on.
The council has already begun proceedings for a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for 8 Lanham Way, Littlemore.
But pensioner Meriel Pipkin said she would not budge after spending more than £30,000 on the bungalow.
The council claims the property, built by Dr Pipkin’s uncle Frank, and passed to her through his will, has been empty for more than 10 years and has become a target for vandals and thieves.
But the former lecturer in social policy has disputed their claims, and said she plans to move into the bungalow once it is back up to scratch and a safe place to live.
She added that she had been caught off-guard by the CPO proceedings, which she said she knew nothing about until she was contacted by the Oxford Mail.
She said: “When we heard what they were doing I thought about whether I should just give up.
“But I am not prepared to do that. I am going to move in, although the doctor says I probably shouldn’t stay here this winter.”
Dr Pipkin said she had lived in the house for about 15 years until 2005, when a mugging outside her front door scared her away from the area.
The incident left her with knee and hip injuries and she now walks with a stick.
She said she wanted to move back to the bungalow as it was more suitable than her current home in Wolvercote Dr Pipkin said the council’s letters about the house started in 2006.
Since then, she has been involved in talks with the council over the bungalow’s future, and she has accused the authority of having “ulterior motives”.
She said: “They just want the land, because they want access to be able to link up with Medhurst Way.
“At no point have they tried to work with me, and all their harassment has put me under a lot of pressure. Their attitude is that old people don’t matter.”
Several years ago, Dr Pipkin passed power of attorney to a close friend, the Rev Howard Thornton.
He said: “They say they are not happy she didn’t move back in sooner, but we sent them letter after letter explaining why she couldn’t.”
Dr Pipkin said she would resist any attempts to force the sale of the house, and has so far installed new plumbing, heating and double glazing.
City council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “The property has been empty and derelict for several years.
“Oxford City Council has been involved in protracted discussion with the owner.
“The owner has consistently failed to engage with the council.
“Officers will continue the dialogue with the owner and the outcome of those discussions will guide the next course of action.”
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