RESIDENTS fear a Travelodge planned for Witney will increase traffic after a significant expansion in rooms was approved.

Revised proposals for the two-storey hotel and Costa Coffee drive-thru were passed, subject to conditions, by district councillors on Monday, with the number of rooms rising from 37 to 63.

The hotel, set to replace Eastnor House by the roundabout where Ducklington Lane meets the A40, was previously approved last July.

But the application returned to councillors after Travelodge changed its policy to only build hotels with at least 50 beds, putting the whole development at risk if the expansion was refused.

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Councillor for Carterton North West, Maxine Crossland, slammed the situation as a 'gun to our heads', while Ducklington Parish Council is also against the plans.

One parish councillor, John Dunsdon, said: "It's a historic town with lovely buildings, so the hotel's one of the first things people will see coming into Witney. The previous development didn't look too bad, but this is a Lego building.

"There's no provision for a zebra crossing or reduced speed limit on the A415 coming into Witney.

"We don't run around objecting to everything, but we're genuinely concerned."

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Another councillor, Matthew Barker, added: "Our biggest concern is the impact at rush hour. Nobody will walk or cycle to the hotel from town as it's a dangerous road."

Another 12 parking spaces will be added to the development after the lowlands area planning committee meeting, while the hotel's height will increase marginally.

Oxfordshire County Council's highways department and Thames Water originally objected to the revised plans, but removed their comments before the meeting.

The Travelodge, set to be built next to the same roundabout as the Oxford Witney Hotel, has no restaurant, while its design was changed for the amended application.

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James Griffin, speaking on behalf of developer Hinton Group, said the hotel would create a 'viable investment opportunity' for Witney and create nine full-time and 12 part-time jobs.

Ms Crossland said: "This committee spent a long time working towards the previous plans, which took into consideration that it was a gateway to Witney."

She added: "We effectively have a gun at our heads that if we don't approve this we lose the hotel."

Witney Town Council objected due to traffic, with councillor Andrew Prosser adding: "The junction is already congested at peak times and will only get busier once the A40 Shores Green slip roads are constructed, bringing more traffic into the centre of Witney."

A spokesperson for Hinton Group said: “We are delighted that the sub-committee resolved to approve our application, with several members commenting that they liked the design.

"We look forward to starting work on Witney’s new Travelodge and Costa drive-thru as soon as possible.”