NEW life could be breathed into Abingdon's tourism industry through a 'desperately-needed' overhaul and major extension of one of the town's biggest hotels.
The Oxford Abingdon Hotel in Marcham Road has unveiled multi-million pound plans to demolish part of the current building and entice visitors with a new four-storey block housing a new restaurant, bar, meeting rooms and additional 84 bedrooms.
In a planning application architects ADS said the current 67 bedrooms were 'tired and of their day, desperately in need of complete refurbishment'.
Hugo Lowry of Coldunell, which owns the hotel, said: "It needed significant investment. If we do nothing on this site it will only deteriorate. We want to secure its long-term viability."
He would not disclose the exact budget but confirmed it involved 'many millions' of pounds and said it would create more jobs.
The hexagonal-shaped 1980's building made up of meetings rooms and a restaurant will be knocked down and replaced with the modern new build with 22 extra car parking spaces, while the current rooms will be revamped.
Mr Lowry said: "This is a large investment for us - we are putting so much into this. Internally everything will be brand new and fresher-looking.
"We are very excited for the prospects and what it will bring for the locality. This is an entrance into Abingdon and we've been mindful to make sure what we build adds to the prestige of the town."
He hoped it would also appeal to Oxford tourists struggling to find a spot in the city, adding: "Oxford has an under-supply of hotel bedrooms; there is a demand for additional bedrooms and facilities."
The hotel - formerly the Four Pillars - is rated three and a half stars on Tripadvisor with almost 400 reviews, of which several recent ones label it 'dated' and 'desperately in need of an update'.
Kevin Thomson, who runs the Walk About guided tours around the town centre, said: "I welcome anything that can give more beds to more visitors to Abingdon. I know the hotel and they are a good lot so well done to them.
"Abingdon is a beautiful market town with thousands of years of history. It's a little hidden jewel in the crown of the River Thames. If we can get more people to come, they will have somewhere to stay. There is lots to see and it's a good base to get around to other places. During summer the hotels in and around Oxford are inundated, they can't handle the number of visitors."
Vale of White Horse District Council is due to decide on the plans by the end of January.