Work has finally started on a £30m redevelopment of Oxford castle and prison, four years after plans first emerged for the site.
Developer the Osborne Group said enabling and archaeological works had begun on the project, which will include a hotel, restaurant and heritage centre.

The developer has assembled five architects: Jeremy Dixon.Edward Jones for the restaurant, an underground car park and part of the hotel; Richard Griffiths Architects as conservation architect; ADP Architects to design the main hotel; Panter Hudspith to work on a cafe and other facilities; and Jestico + Whiles as overall interior architect.

Osborne chairman Trevor Osborne said the initial work was sensitive: “We are stripping out parts with a screwdriver rather than a crowbar.”

The firm is moving towards shortlisting main contractors and hopes to start the main contract next January.

Osborne said the team had finally convinced residents about the strengths of the project. He said: “It’s not been easy but we are just about there now.” Last summer, planners at Oxford council called for the project to be redesigned.

The project team includes structural engineer Alan Baxter & Associates, QS Gardiner & Theobald, project manager GDG and M&E engineer Cameron Taylor Brady.