THE city's Central Conservation Area has been extended – despite opposition from Oxford University.

The area, which was first designated in 1971, will now include St Thomas' and the University Science Quarter.

The St Thomas' extension will include some buildings in Hythe Bridge Street and others on Park End Street and in Frideswide Square.

It will also include parts of Becket Street, Hollybush Row and Osney Lane.

Oxford City Council's planning officers said that area is 'one of the earliest suburbs outside of the city walls.'

It added: "Its inclusion within the conservation area will ensure that the collective character of the buildings is maintained.

"The buildings in this area illustrate Oxford’s built development, historical motoring trade and the buildings’ close relationship to the nearby waterways."

The council also approved a move to include the Science Quarter.

That was despite the university worrying it would make it more difficult to get rid of older buildings and replacing them with newer, more technologically advanced ones.

The authority said the quarter 'is a physical demonstration of the commitment to scientific research within the city during the mid-19th century and beyond.'

It added: "Each building within the University Science Quarter is of its time, reflecting its original use while also reflecting the changes in research since that time."

The city council's cabinet member for planning and sustainable transport, Alex Hollingsworth, said: “Central Oxford is blessed with one of the most important concentrations of historic buildings and physical and human history in the UK.

"It’s also the living and breathing centre of a very vibrant city that has evolved over hundreds of years and will continue to adapt in the future."

The city has 18 conservation areas.