THOUSANDS more visitors could be on their way to Witney after plans for a new hotel were unveiled.

The new Premier Inn will create 30 jobs and could encourage more shoppers and businesses into the town.

It has submitted plans to build a 57-bedroom hotel on the site of a vacant home alongside Lidl in Ducklington Lane.

The 2,510 sq ft, two and three-storey development will bring 7,371 new customers a year to Witney, the hotel chain said, and business leaders hope this will encourage further investment.

But concerns have been raised about the impact of the hotel on the already congested Ducklington Lane/Station Lane junction.

Witney chamber of commerce chairman Lesley Semaine said: “It is a great idea because apart from the Four Pillars we only have small B&Bs and hotels.

“It could bring more people and passing trade into the town. It could be very positive for Witney and the town’s businesses.”

But she said the Ducklington Lane/Station Lane junction had to be looked at and said a roundabout would be the preferred option.

Steve Hayward, Oxfordshire County Council member for Witney West, said: “The issue at the junction is that the traffic lights do not cater for the capacity.

“We should have lots of money to spend on improvements because we are not spending on the Cogges Link Road.”

The controversial Cogges Link Road plan fell through earlier this year after a Government inspector refused County Hall permission to compulsorily purchase land needed for the scheme, freeing up millions of pounds of developer funds.

But Mr Hayward said Premier Inn would have a “miniscule” impact on the rush hour traffic and the town needed more hotel space.

Rodney Rose, county council cabinet member for transport, said a decision on how the Cogges link Road cash would be spent had not yet been made.

The Premier Inn application will also create a 57-space car park.

Richard Pearson, acquisition manager of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, which owns Premier Inn, said: “We are the UK’s largest hotel business and we are expanding aggressively to provide more excellent locations for our customers. Oxfordshire is one of our key growth areas.”

He added: “The plans are only good news for Witney and I look forward to working with the council to deliver our investment and help support the local economy.”

Whitbread hopes to increase Premier Inn’s 49,000 bedrooms in the UK to 65,000 by 2016.

West Oxfordshire District Council will decide on the planning application on a date yet to be set.