A GOVERNMENT agency is now happier for a building in Oxford city centre to be knocked down and rebuilt for flats.

Historic England had said it had initial concerns about Simon House, in Paradise Street, but proposals have been 'broken up a little'.

It had worries that the development, which would be used where the Simon House homeless shelter is based, would have overlooked listed buildings nearby. Historic England now says the street would be 'a bit lighter and more ordered' if the plans go ahead.

But, it continues, there would 'still be scope to further develop these elevations and make this building better.'

READ MORE: Gibbs Crescent, Oxford, new flats plan 'will put lives at risk'

It adds: "We would be delighted if the [city] council had the patience to do this, but...the design has reached a point where the design is less overbearing on its neighbours and the adverse impact on the significant nearby listed buildings is minor."

The application has been paired with the controversial redevelopment of Gibbs Crescent. Both sites are owned by A2Dominion.

A project could see 140 flats built at Gibbs Crescent, even though 78 flats are based there currently. But residents have criticised those proposals, slamming them as 'dramatic', 'unsafe' and 'unbelievable'. Historic England has no concerns about Gibbs Crescent.