THE home of an Oxford University international scholarship named after a controversial imperialist could be transformed into a 'world-class convening centre'.

Planning permission to renovate the Grade II* listed Rhodes House on South Parks Road has been submitted to Oxford City Council.

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The building houses the Rhodes Trust, the body responsible for looking after the Rhodes Scholarship, an award which allows students from across the world to study at Oxford University.

It is named after the British politician and mine owner Cecil Rhodes, who was responsible for a series of now-controversial colonial endeavours in Africa during the 19th century.

Oxford Mail:

Cecil Rhodes statue at Oriel College on the High, Oxford. Picture: Damian Halliwell.

In a design statement submitted as part of the planning application, the Rhodes Trust said it wanted to renovate its base so all Rhodes scholars could be brought together in one meeting hall.

The statement said: "At the heart of the proposals is the creation of a world-class convening centre to bring scholars and academics together from Oxford and around the world."

Alongside work which will see the main hall at the building opened-up to accommodate 300 people, there will be refurbishment in the east wing of the building as well as new extensions to the north and west, if the application goes ahead.

There are also plans to build a new spiral staircase inside a rotunda at the entrance to the building between the lower ground floor and upper ground floor.

Oxford Mail:

Picture: Google Maps.

Prof Louise Richardson, vice chancellor of Oxford University, provided a statement for the design document which said she welcomed the Rhodes Trust's plans.

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It said: “The centre will provide much needed purpose-built facilities - including on-site accommodation - in a prime location in town. As a hub for the Rhodes Scholars and the Atlantic Fellows, the new facility at Rhodes House will attract a global cohort of people committed to engaging critically and actively with society’s most pressing issues.”

The Rhodes Trust was set up in 1902, following the wishes of Cecil Rhodes set out in his will.

It was funded by his estate.

Rhodes House was built in the 1920s as the headquarters for the trust.