WORK is due to start on a £2m extension at an Oxford hotel which will increase the number of rooms by a third in a bid to boost trade.

Contractors are due to start building the extension at the rear of the Oxford Four Pillars Hotel in Henley Road, Sandford-on-Thames, by the end of the month.

Managers of the Witney-based hotel chain say they need the new bedrooms to cater for growing demand for hotel rooms throughout the week. The expansion could result in the creation of 10 new jobs.

As well as the 22 new ensuite bedrooms, a courtyard area is being glassed over to provide additional dining space and conference space, and new toilets are being provided.

South Oxfordshire District Council has granted planning permission for the 22 bedrooms and for a second phase of development featuring a further 20 rooms when they are required, plus four treatment rooms. The hotel is also planning to create an additional 49 car parking spaces, taking the total to 156.

Four Pillars Hotels’ commercial director Suzanne Bush said she expected the new bedrooms to be ready by next May, taking the total number to 84.

She said: “It’s a positive sign for the local economy that we need to build these new ensuite rooms.

“It’s a significant investment – £2m on this first phase alone – and another 20 bedrooms could be built at the front of the hotel at a later date.

“Our clientele is quite mixed. We get businessmen from the science parks staying in the week and the hotel is also very popular for leisure breaks and weddings.”

General manager Jonathan Oldroyd added: “Demand for bedrooms is high. It’s often 90 per cent occupancy midweek, and we are mostly full.

“These additional bedrooms will help to bring in more business and we could need another 10 staff to add to the 55 full-time staff we already employ.”

The Four Pillars Hotels chain also has hotels in Abingdon Road in Oxford, Abingdon, Witney, Gloucestershire and North Bristol.

Sandford-on-Thames Parish Council was consulted on the extension scheme and backed it.

In July, city councillors rejected plans for an 83-bedroom Travelodge hotel in Abingdon Road.

The city council’s executive member for city development Colin Cook said: “It’s good news that the Four Pillars chain is building more bedrooms at Sandford-on-Thames, which is relatively easy to reach from the city centre.

“Travelodge and Four Pillars attract considerably different markets and I expect there will be another application from Travelodge for a hotel in Oxford, but for a different location.”