AN HISTORIC Cornmarket building could be freshened up after Pret a Manger and the city council’s conservation team settled their differences.

The medieval facade and interior of 26-27 Cornmarket and the former Zacaharias shop could now undergo a refurbishment.

New flooring and seating could be installed along with paint job in the sandwich shop and LED lighting.

Pret a Manger changed parts of its plans after concerns were raised by Oxford Preservation Trust and Oxford City Council's conservation team.

A previous restoration in 1988 won an Oxford Preservation Trust award – and the trust said the new plans, although ‘not intrusive’ needed some changes.

Trust heritage assistant Helen Wilkinson said: “These are highly important structures to Oxford and to the immediate streetscape due to their age and the remarkable survival and retention of the historic fabric.

“Their prominent location makes it all the more important that any works conducted to these structures are sympathetic and do not cause harm.”

She added that the trust was pleased to see the proposed works were ‘not intrusive’ but had a number of queries, including the use of grey paint and the ‘alien’ timber cladding.

Oxford City Council’s conservation officers agreed with the trust and Pret a Manger has since dropped the grey in favour of ‘Georgian brown’ and full-height timber slats scrapped for painted walls instead.

Pret's agent at Savills said: “The conservation officer provided comments that the originally proposed scheme was in parts not sympathetic to the historic integrity of the Grade II listed property, which dates back to the 14th century.

“She said that the significance of the building risked being undermined by the proposed modern decor and distract from the historic character of the buildings.”

Savills added that the changes would be more complementary to the listed building and ensure the identity of the historic building would retain primacy over the proposed internal refit of the sandwich shop.

Other minor changes to colours inside have also been made and the Ship Street fascia will remain ‘Pret red’ but letter kept centrally aligned.

Following the changes, heritage body Historic England said it was satisfied and happy for the city council to make a decision, which it is expected to do later this month.