The latest plans have been put forward for the refurbishment of the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford.

A planning application has now been submitted to the city council for a single storey extension at the back of the pub in St Giles.

The application to make the pub bigger with a new restaurant area has been submitted by property agents Savills, on behalf of the pub's owners St John's College.

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Savills said: "The applicant recognises the historic importance of the Eagle and Child pub, not least due to its connections with the Inklings, and remains committed to reopening the site as a pub.

"The new proposal is simply a ground floor extension to 49 St Giles, as opposed to the approved double extension to 49 and 50."

Oxford Mail: The Eagle and Child

Dave Richardson, a spokesman for the Oxford branch of real ale group CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), said: "It's good to see that there may be some movement, however small, towards reopening this historic pub.

"We understand that talks with two pub operating companies broke down, due to the scale of investment they would need to commit to, especially if St John's College had proceeded with the idea of creating a boutique hotel on the upper floors.

"That idea has clearly been abandoned, and a modest extension of the pub to create more dining space would make sense.

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"The pub has now been closed for nearly three and a half years, and the longer it remains closed, the bigger a job of restoration it will be. The important thing is to reopen it as a pub, not some kind of restaurant.

"Anything else would be a betrayal of Tolkien and the Inklings' legacy, as this is where they came to drink and discuss their works."

The famous watering hole was once the favourite of writers' group The Inklings. featuring fantasy authors JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.

St John's College said in June efforts were being made to reopen the pub and the process of identifying new management to run it is about to be completed.

Oxford Mail: The Eagle and Child

The college asked property management company Savills to identify the most suitable tenant.

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St John's College principal bursar told the Oxford Mail: "Our property agents Savills have been undertaking a process to identify a tenant on our behalf.

"We are nearing the end of this process but are not in a position to discuss anything publicly until we have completed the process.

"We are at the same time progressing with the refurbishment works that need to take place before the Eagle and Child reopens.

"We will hopefully have some good news to share shortly."

The Lamb & Flag, also owned by St John's College, is on the opposite side of St Giles. 

It also closed during the pandemic but reopened last year after being taken over by a community interest group called The Inkings.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

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