AN outdated block in Jericho will be transformed with new flats and retail space after redevelopment plans got the go-ahead.

Nine new apartments will be built at St Pauls House, on the corner of Walton Street and Juxon Street, as part of the project by Oxford-based firm Lucy Group and Oxford City Council.

Under the proposals, which were approved by the city council’s west area planning committee on Friday, the ground floor will be dedicated to retail space and the building’s five council flats refurbished.

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Mike Rowley, Oxford City Council’s cabinet member for affordable housing and housing the homeless, explained the scheme will have several benefits.

He said: “This is a good deal for the council and for our tenants.

“It will deliver significantly upgraded flats and cover the cost of finding new homes for the tenants while the work is being undertaken, while also regenerating a prominent building in Jericho that was in need of improvement.”

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A fourth storey will be added to the building, which was built in the 1970s and previously housed the Jericho Health Centre.

The former health centre and the two storey flat facing Cranham Street will be demolished.

All eight existing flats are to stay, with those owned by the council receiving improvements including new windows, doors, carpets, bathrooms and kitchens.

The commercial space is capable of providing up to 54 full-time jobs, according to the planning statement for the application.

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Current tenants will be rehoused during the project and have the option to return when work is completed, although all but one has indicated they would prefer a permanent move.

All tenants will receive a disturbance allowance and are eligible for support for new carpeting where necessary, while Lucy Group will cover the cost of lost rental income to the council.

The council will sell the freehold to the company and then take out a 999-year lease on the flats they own.

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Lucy Group spokesperson Ian Ashcroft said: “We have spent the last four years working on the scheme with Oxford City Council’s planning and asset teams and consulted widely with local residents and stakeholders, so we’re thrilled that the project was received so positively.

“We bought the former health centre as we saw a unique opportunity to create an attractive building in this prominent location.

“We are really pleased to be able to work with the Council to refurbish and renovate St Pauls House at the same time as building the new residential and commercial accommodation.”