Scheme due to start in July

Local contractor Beard has won a £20m deal to extend a grade II*-listed building used by Rhodes scholars at Oxford university.

The firm is set to start work on Rhodes House by the end of July, subject to planning, with the scheme taking two years to complete for an autumn 2022 opening.

Designed by Stanton Williams, the work will include creating three new basements to allow for 40 guest bedrooms, increased office space for nearly 70 staff and a conference centre big enough for 200 people. The makeover will also include a garden pavilion.

A central staircase will be installed inside the existing marble-clad rotunda while a glass convening centre will also be constructed at ground level above the new office space.

The Rhodes Trust wants to increase the number of Rhodes scholars from 260 to 325 in residence in Oxford by 2028.