Agetur Uk have been contracted to complete 98 Plots, garages, associated Roads and Sewers at Great Western Park, Didcot, Oxfordshire. The scale of the project involves a significant amount of Roads & Sewer works including, Tanked Attenuation, Pond Attenuation, 1232m Mains Sewers (388m 900 Dia), 4500m2 of new road, S278 Works, Existing Rising Main Diversion and the laying of a new rising main.
Project key facts:
Client: Taylor Wimpy
Location: West of Didcot, Oxfordshire
Sector: Infrastructure Works, Housing
This is a large site of around 180 hectares lying on the western edge of Didcot. The land is largely agricultural, and slopes NE to SW. To the north lie the massive cooling towers of Didcot power station. To the south is the Berkshire Downs AONB, clearly visible 1 km away. Didcot, with a population of 23,000, is a sprawling settlement consisting of mainly late 20th century and 21st century housing.
The main Bristol to London rail line runs to the north west of the site. Aims and challenges of project There are many issues involved in creating such a large new community on the edge of a small town. To develop a site in open countryside without mitigation would be very invasive.
Major issues facing PRP in drawing up the masterplan included:
- building on open agricultural land on a greenfield site
- linking to existing late 20th settlements
- developing within view of an area of AONB
- avoiding urban coalescence between Didcot and village settlements
The plan to build 3,400 new homes represents the largest single housing application in Oxfordshire to date. The developers of the site have been involved in lengthy negotiations with 40 landowners to acquire the whole site. They have also been involved in lengthy discussions with South Oxfordshire District Council, and have made two separate planning applications. Earlier proposals had been rejected by the South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning control committee.
PRP masterplan overcame some of the initial objections by paying careful attention to landscaping and using the local vernacular in the design. Head of urban design David Ellis says they have ‘bent over backwards’ to enhance the landscaping to meet planning requirements. Planning approval was finally granted by South Oxfordshire District Council in November 2006, subject to successful negotiation of Section 106 agreements.