CONSTRUCTION has begun on a 68-room block of flats in Jericho which will take all Somerville College students out of private housing.

Work officially started on Thursday on the Catherine Hughes building – named after the late former principal – in Walton Street. Her husband Dr Trevor Hughes dug the first sod to mark the occasion.

In 2016 the college branded estate agent North Oxford Property Services "irresponsible" for releasing their housing list early. Students then queued overnight to get a house. When completed in October 2019, the development will allow all its students to live on site.

College treasurer, Andrew Parker, said: “The Catherine Hughes building will help us to achieve one of our long-held goals: to accommodate all of our undergraduates on site.

“We know that this will bring our Somerville community even closer together. It will also offer a significant benefit for applicants choosing Somerville, and will be particularly important to those who might otherwise be deterred by the cost of having to live out for a year.”

A further 42 rooms will be added to the back of 25 to 27 Little Clarendon Street.