A MAJOR redevelopment of an Oxford community centre is finally taking another step forward with work set to start on detailed designs.

Oxford City Council's Cabinet is expected on Wednesday to approve the release of £800,000 to pay for formally-costed proposals for the East Oxford Community Centre.

A full planning application is then due to be put in this autumn.

Despite a public consultation being held three years ago work was stalled on the project while the city council and Oxfordshire County Council considered sharing the space.

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Aileen Carlisle, the city council's Executive Director for Customer and Communities, explained in a report to Cabinet members that the 'level of dedicated space' needed by the other authority combined with the impact it would have on the 'availability of community space' led to this idea being abandoned in October last year.

The council’s project team will now use designs from December 2017as the basis for the refurbishment.

The £10.6m project includes housing and redevelopment of the Princes Street community centre, Film Oxford and the East Oxford Games Hall sites.

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As part of the plan, the Fusion Arts building and Chinese Advice Centre would be demolished and replaced by a two-storey building for community use. An improved outdoor space would also be built.

The scheme would also see the old school building refurbished, and another new two-storey building created for film and music studios, offices and community space.

Student housing was intended for the site but this was changed, along with an increased budget, to approximately 30 homes built by the council’s housing company. Critics of the plans have said it would mean that a large chunk of the centre would be lost.

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But the council has always maintained that only eight per cent of the floorspace of the centre would go and that the centre will be more flexible to use.

The redevelopment is necessary due to the poor condition of many of the current buildings.

B Block, to the rear of the East Oxford Community Centre site, was demolished in January after being condemned by an inspector in April 2018.

The rest of the community centre, however, continues to operate as normal.