A SHORTAGE of visitor accomodation in Oxford is being rapidly reduced by “a flood” of new hotel proposals, industry figures have said.

Business and tourism leaders said the change was promising after years of the market remaining “static”.

Their comments came after it emerged a new city-centre Premier Inn could be built in Paradise Square, with plans already revealed for a Hotel Indigo nearby in Paradise Street.

According to Land Registry documents – seen by the Oxford Mail – Premier Inn is now the freeholder of Greyfriars Court, currently leased by accountancy firm Critchley’s.

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Martin Walker, head of marketing and development at the tourism agency Experience Oxfordshire, said: “For some time there has been a static market, but there now seems to be many more development proposals for mid-range hotels coming through.

“That is welcome, because although Oxfordshire has lots of visitors it is crucial for us to make sure more of them choose to stay overnight and spend more money here.”

Alongside the city centre proposals, several other schemes have been completed, or are planned, elsewhere in the city.

As well as an 83-bed Travelodge which opened last month at Redbridge, another 71-bedroom hotel is part of plans to overhaul the Templars Square Shopping Centre in Cowley, and a 103-bedroom Hampton by Hilton hotel opened near the Kassam Stadium this month.

The Oxford Spires Four Pillars in Abingdon Road – already the biggest hotel in the city with 220 rooms – is also due to add another 57 bedrooms in 2016, with the Premier Inn in Garsington Road, Cowley, set to expand by 63 rooms.

According to Oxford City Council, a 150-room hotel is likely to be part of the redevelopment of the Oxpens and another hotel, with up to 180 rooms, has been included in a blueprint for the Northern Gateway in North Oxford.

Space at Oxford Station is also to be earmarked for another hotel.

Chairman of city business group ROX and hotelier Jeremy Mogford said he expected “a flood” of new mid-range and budget hotel proposals to continue coming through in the next few years.

Mr Mogford is the owner of both The Old Parsonage Hotel in Banbury Road and the Old Bank Hotel in High Street, which he has spent millions of pounds improving over the past three years.

He said: “There has been a stifling of activity in recent years, but now the floodgates are opening. My response to this has been to move up-market and that has worked well. There is definitely a demand for rooms at the lower end of the market, however, and that is what many of the applications are trying to address.

“What has changed is the city council has woken up and encouraged developers to put forward hotel proposals in the face of the shortage.

“What we must be careful of now is that we do not over-react and see a repetition of George Street, which is now dominated by one kind of usage [restaurants].”

Proposals to demolish the former Cooper Callas building and Brewery Gate pub and build a 150-bed Hotel Indigo in Paradise Street have met a wave of opposition.

More than 200 people have objected to the scheme, with Historic England, Oxford Preservation Trust and Oxford Civic Society also voicing concerns.