PROJECTS designed to protect and improve Oxford's world-famous cityscape can be put forward for prestigious recognition.

Oxford Preservation Trust has launched its annual OPT Awards, which celebrate the role of buildings and environmental schemes in enhancing the city's character.

2020 is the 43rd year that the awards have been held, and applications are now open.

The Green Award is a new addition to the categories this year, and will look specifically at sustainability.

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OPT's director Debbie Dance said: "The awards celebrate the contribution that buildings and environmental projects can make to Oxford’s character, its streets and its green spaces.

"From exceptional new buildings to the highest quality conservation of the existing, through to temporary installations, all can help to bring our city to life."

Last year saw a record 56 entries vying for an award, and 12 were named as winners.

An additional eight were given certificates for impressing judges.

Science Oxford Centre and the adjoining Wood Centre for Innovation, at Stansfeld Park in Headington Quarry, were among winners in the 'new building' category.

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Both are run by The Oxford Trust, which works to expand people's enterprise, education and engagement.

OPT launched entries at an event there yesterday afternoon.

Steve Burgess, chief executive of The Oxford Trust, said: "We were delighted to host the launch of the 2020 Oxford Preservation Trust Awards at Stansfeld Park.

"We were honoured to receive a plaque last year, and recognise the value of the awards in celebrating the best building projects and conservation schemes in Oxford."

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A judging panel from OPT will visit the projects entered, and will name the winners during a ceremony at St John's College.

Other winners last year included the conservation work to the Danby Arch, which has stood at Oxford Botanic Garden since 1633.

Improvements to the Thames Towpath also received an award.

The Beecroft Building in North Oxford and the housing development in Dora Carr Close, Northway, also gained winners' plaques.

The latter consists of terraced housing with distinctive pointed roofs, designed for the development company founded by Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud.

Applications for this year's entries close on Friday, May 22, and forms can be found via

Critchleys Accountants, Mathews Comfort Insurance Brokers and Carter Jonas Surveyors are sponsoring the awards.