The next phase of a major £5m project to revamp one of Oxford’s biggest churches is set to begin.

About £300,000 has already been spent on restoration to the sanctuary of the Oxford Oratory, one of just three Roman Catholic oratories in the country.

Now the first building work on the site in Woodstock Road will begin at the end of this month, with a new parish centre and library building, and new accommodation for priests based at the oratory to be constructed.

This phase of the work will cost £750,000, which has been committed to the project by the church, but another £270,000 is needed by August to fit it out.

Parish priest Father Daniel Seward said: “We have got too many fathers living in the house.

“Some are actually living in the basement so we need to build new accommodation.”

Five new rooms will be constructed, allowing an additional five priests to join the eight priests and one novice at the house.

The new library will house 10,000 volumes, including the archive of Roman Catholic convert, the author GK Chesterton.

The parish centre will include more facilities, including a kitchen and office.

This part of the work will be completed by the end of the year but further restoration, including a new chapel in memory of Blessed John Henry Newman, is set to be carried out in 2013.

Fr Seward said: “The large part of what we have raised has come from the congregation.

“So far we have raised over £2m, although some of that has been spent on preparatory work.

“This phase is significant because it will give us room for growth for the community for the future and it means the future of the Oratory is assured.

“It is an ongoing work but I think as people see things happening that will galvanise them to support us further.

“It is very exciting because this is Newman’s dream coming to fruition.

“He wanted to found an Oratory in Oxford and it didn’t happen in his lifetime but we came here 100 years after his death.

“Coming after his beatification, it is part of his legacy being put into place.”