KEY details of a £9.75m project that will see city council-owned buildings knocked down and a new development built in its place are being looked at again.

The council said in September 2017 that it wanted to knock down 1-5 George Street and then build a new complex to increase rent returns and floorspace.

Plush designs were released in the summer and it had been thought the city council was close to submitting them for planning permission.

Any new development would contain new offices and restaurants if it is given the go-ahead in the future.

It said the planned development would ‘add to the continued vibrancy of the city centre’ – and the public was able to look at proposals over the weekend of June 23 and 24.

However, it says it must do more work to make sure the design fits in with the rest of George Street.

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Chofamba Sithole, Oxford City Council spokesman, said: “The city council is currently undertaking additional work on the 1-5 George Street project.

“This includes looking at the type of materials and detailing to the front of the building.

"Having worked with the Oxford Design Review Panel on the project, the city council is also seeking design advice from Historic England.”

He added: “This work is being done now to make sure that the design is right for the building’s key position in George Street.”

The council’s buildings lie on the other side of George Street from the New Theatre, Debenhams and pizzeria Franco Manca.

Documents unveiled in June said the council’s new development would have increased floor space in the building from 8,812 sq ft to 20,500 sq ft.

The buildings are currently empty after tenants left earlier this year. They included a dental surgery, the Ask Italian restaurant and the Solutions luggage shop.

Oxford Mail: Oxford City Council could demolish. Picture by Ed Nix.

In June, Ed Turner, the city council’s board member for finance and asset management, said: “When completed, the new development will help generate revenues for the council to enable us to safeguard the funding of our vital frontline services.”

He added: “It will also add to the continued vibrancy of the city centre, which is experiencing a period of sustained regeneration.”

While the council’s interim regeneration and economy programme director, Ian Gray, said in April: “This regeneration project also represents good value for money as the completed development should greatly improve the council’s revenues.

“But above all, the provision of grade A office accommodation in the heart of the city is a major consideration.”

There is no indication for when plans might be submitted.