A COUNCIL leader has pledged that talks will continue with developers over plans to build a new hotel in Didcot.

In May, South Oxfordshire District Council leader Ann Ducker, pictured, urged Cranbourne Homes to abandon plans for 72 flats opposite Didcot Parkway station so a hotel could be built there instead.

The Abingdon-based property firm has permission to build the flats on the site of the former Great Western Hotel in Station Road.

But it has now submitted a second planning application for the same site for car parking to continue there on a ‘temporary basis’ for two years.

The firm declined to comment on its latest application, but Mrs Ducker said the move would allow talks to continue between the council and the firm.

District council officers are working on a ‘masterplan’ for the redevelopment of the site opposite Didcot Parkway, so it can become a gateway to the town centre and the Orchard shopping centre. One of the key elements for the land, referred to as ‘Didcot Island’, is the hotel.

Mrs Ducker said: “This application to continue with car parking on the site could give us some breathing space for our talks with Cranbourne Homes.

“It is not unhelpful to have the car parking spaces available for commuter parking but ultimately we would like to see a hotel there and we hope there will not be too long a hiatus over this.

A spokesman for Cranbourne Homes confirmed in May that talks were taking place with the district council.

The company declined to comment on the latest application.