THE BOWELS of a famous Oxford building could be given a clean new look.

Toilets in the basements of the Sheldonian Theatre could be refurbished, but because the 17th century building is grade I listed, permission is needed first.

According to the plans, the Sheldonian hopes to 'provide a new style of lavatories that reflects the value and significance of the building'.

A gender-neutral toilet will also be fitted in the north-east female bathrooms to comply with Oxford University's equality policies.

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A design statement submitted with the application said work on the building will be carried out as carefully as possible, with plans to follow existing areas used for plumbing and wiring rather than creating new ones.

However, the application said there will be a small amount of harm will be caused to the historic building.

Aric Barcena, an agent acting on behalf of the theatre, wrote this harm was thought to be worth it and would be 'outweighed by the positive benefits of new, gender-inclusive toilets'.

For more information about the application visit the Oxford City Council website at and search for application 20/00548/LBC.