A major extension to a hotel and restaurant near Didcot could bring 20 new jobs to the town.

Premier Inn at the Milton interchange currently has 84 bedrooms and runs the neighbouring Applecart restaurant.

It wants planning permssion to build a 51-bedroom extension and, if granted, plans to start building work in the new year.

The extension at the hotel off the A34, on the A4130 on the outskirts of Didcot, follows a pledge by South Oxfordshire District Council to get a hotel built on the Didcot Island site in Station Road, opposite Didcot Parkway railway station.

SODC planning officers are in talks with Cranbourne Homes about the possibility of building a new hotel on land the developer owns opposite the station.

The council is urging Cranbourne Homes to build the hotel, instead of 72 apartments which it has planning permission for, but so far no agreement has been reached.

SODC wants the site, where the Great Western Hotel used to stand, to form a gateway to the town centre that links with a revamped Orchard shopping centre.

Manager of Didcot Premier Inn and chairman of Didcot Chamber of Commerce Julia Williams, pictured, said: “After getting planning permission for this extension, we plan to start building work in March.

“As well as the new bedrooms, there will be another 40 covers in the restaurant and menus will be changing.

“Didcot is growing fast and the demand for rooms midweek is fantastic.

“We refer people to independent hotels and B&Bs nearby because we want to help them to stay in Didcot.

“Twenty jobs will be created in the hotel and restaurant and this is an investment that will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

The council is keen to revamp the site opposite the station to tie in with a £6.7m refurbishment of the forecourt of Didcot Parkway.

Phase two of the Orchard shopping centre is expected to open by the end of 2014.

SODC will decide on the hotel expansion plans.

Council leader Ann Ducker said: “Even though the hotel could expand at the Milton interchange, it doesn’t change my view that we need a new hotel in the town centre and I believe the land opposite the station is the best location for it.

“We are expecting a lot of growth in the business sector and two different hotels could cater for different markets.”