WORK is under way in Oxford High Street to convert a former bank into a restaurant run by upmarket destination The Ivy.

For decades The Ivy in Covent Garden has been the place for stars of the showbusiness world to be seen and now its glamorous reputation is destined for Oxford.

The upmarket restaurant will move into the former NatWest building in High Street after Lincoln College submitted plans to redevelop the building, including four apartments on the upper floors.

The Ivy in London is renowned for its fine dining, overseen by executive chef Gary Lee.

The construction project, to convert the former NatWest into the restaurants and flats is being completed by award-winning Oxford-based construction firm Beard.

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Spokeswoman Liz Coyle-Camp said: “I can confirm that work has now started in High Street for Lincoln College.

“The ground floor will be converted into a restaurant while the upper floors will be turned into luxury apartments.

“Work is under way and the project is due for completion in November.”

Plans for the restaurant have shown that there could be space for about 200 diners.

Lincoln College acquired the building at 120-121 High Street from the Royal Bank of Scotland in a deal thought to be worth more than £4.5m.

Oxford Mail:

NatWest staff at the High Street branch switched to a new branch in Cornmarket following a closure announcement in 2017.

The Oxford branch of The Ivy will have to compete with another well established restaurant a short distance away - The Old Bank Hotel featuring Quod restaurant.

The five-star business owned by hotelier Jeremy Mogford has been renovated to give 43 bedrooms, the hotel lobby and the residents’ library a new updated look.

A new rooftop terrace bedroom has also been created.

When the Old Bank Hotel was converted in 1999 from what had been Oxford’s first bank, it was the first hotel to open in the city centre for 135 years.

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The Ivy restaurant in the West End has been a firm fixture on London’s dining and social scene since its foundation in 1917.

Oxford Mail:

According to its website the restaurant and private room upstairs are the ‘epitome of glamour’ – now more than ever after a ‘triumphant redesign’ in 2015 by the acclaimed Martin Brudnizki Design Studio.

It features a central dining bar, stained-glass windows, oak panelling and a striking contemporary art collection.

Oxford Mail:

The Ivy has several cafe branches in the capital as well as one brasserie in Bristol. The famous London restaurant is a short walk from theatres and famous actors spotted there include Benedict Cumberbatch, Damian Lewis, Dame Maggie Smith and Bradley Cooper. Pop star Madonna and the Beckhams have also been seen at The Ivy.