Decision details

Decision details

1-3 George Street refurbishment

Decision Maker: Executive Director (Development)

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


1-3 George Street comprises a vacant mixed use building in a prime city-centre location. The building’s condition has deteriorated internally and in its current condition does not meet minimum regulatory energy performance and other standards. It now requires significant works to refurbish the building to provide a rental income to the council.

The project will deliver an increased level of refurbishment and will improve the attractiveness of the building to the market. Works are to include a new external lift servicing all floors, internal layout improvements to support flexible working, enhanced services, and fabric improvements to improve energy efficiency, a rear external terrace and internal lightwell.

The proposal aims to secure a BREEAM Very Good, sustainability standard through further improvements to the building fabric, both air-tightness and insulation, enhancement to triple glazed windows, as well as the use of PV at roof level.


To enter into contract with Oxford Direct Services Limited (ODSL) for the full refurbishment of vacant building (1-3 George Street) including electric, water, heating and ventilation, internal demolition and rebuild into a quality office space.

Reasons for the decision:

The delivery of workspace in the city-centre is one of the main areas of intervention identified in the City Council’s Corporate Strategy and Business Plan, and emerging Oxford City Council Economic Development Strategy. The evidence base from the City Council’s Draft Economic Development Strategy has further demonstrated a need to provide workspace that local people and businesses can access. It recognises that more,  improved and innovative space needs to be made available if the city wants to be both competitive and meet its inclusive economy corporate objectives.

The decision supports the 15th July 2020 Cabinet approval for the Council to enter into grant funding arrangements and contractual terms with OxLEP for £1.93m of Local Growth Funding (LGF) to part-fund the delivery of new and/or refurbished workspaces at 1-3 George Street and Standingford House, Cave Street, subject to detailed feasibility and design work which would be subject to a future Cabinet Report.  The Cabinet Report for 1-3 George Street was submitted and approved on the 20th January 2021 as noted above.

Alternative options considered:

An Outline Business Case in line with HM Treasury’s Five Case Model considered six options for the refurbishment including do nothing, minimum refurbishment, full refurbishment and options to extend the building. Additional options for alternative uses were also explored. The Business Case, identified the proposal for an enhanced refurbishment as the most advantageous option to deliver a viable development that also addresses the wider Council Corporate Plan objectives including sustainability and supporting the inclusive economy.

Signed off by senior officers:

Tom Bridgman – Executive Director Development

Decision taken in consultation with Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, and Susan Sale, Head of Law and Governance

Publication date: 13/08/2021

Date of decision: 06/07/2021

Current call-in Count: 0

Accompanying Documents: