Oxford's oldest student newspaper

Independent since 1920

Clarendon Centre Development

Oxford’s Clarendon Centre reveals new construction plans amid a large-scale urban regeneration project in the city centre. 

The shopping mall, built in the 1980s, will get a complete makeover. A large chunk of the building will be knocked down, and replaced with 101 units of Brasenose student accommodation. Another porter’s lodge will be built for the College. Retail stores, restaurants, and offices will take up the rest of the now largely-unoccupied space. 

The owners of the Clarendon Centre, Lothbury Investments Managements, have spent the last few years revamping North Bailey House- another property of theirs on New Inn Hall Street. The building is expected to open at the end of March 2023, and offer 20,000 sq ft of “exceptional new office development in central Oxford.”

Together with the North Bailey House, the Clarendon developments will change the shape of central Oxford. A fourth floor terrace with a café is expected to open, and provide “public access to a landscape designed roof space which will showpiece the stunning Oxford skyline.” A new network of pedestrianised streets will connect New Inn Hall Street, Queen Street, and Cornmarket; and a new public square will be built into the centre of it all. 

The public square is a step in Lothbury’s plan to facilitate the ‘greening’ of central Oxford. It is designed with a focus on sustainability. The new open space will have: 23 trees; an unspecified ‘water feature’; ‘green walls’ and ‘green roofs’ (living surfaces made of plants); and a public drinking fountain.

The plans also reveal an attempt to create new pedestrian access through Frewin Court – one of the oldest streets in Oxford. Frewin Court is referenced as early as 1405, then called Bodin’s Lane. In the 19th century, the court was home to Guy & Gammon, Oxford’s local wine and spirit merchants. 

Now, the lane has devolved into little more than a bike rack and a Plush smoking area. When the new Clarendon Centre is built, the deep end of Frewin Court will turn straight on to cafés, retail, restaurants, and a green public square.

The project is not expected to be completed until 2028 or 2029. Until then, we will have to do without the Clarendon Centre and its rain-proof shortcut from Queen Street to Cornmarket. But on the bright side, the Plush smoking area is safe, for now.  

Check out our other content

Most Popular Articles