Great Western Park, Didcot

MAIN DEVELOPER CLIENT: Taylor Wimpey Developments

Allen Pyke have been project landscape architects for the urban extension of Didcot since outline planning consent was granted in 2008. The development, known as Great Western Park, comprises approximately 3,500 residential units, a mixed-use centre, two primary schools, a secondary school, a higher education college and over 60ha of public open space. The practice has been involved throughout all stages of design, and implementation and provided landscape consultancy for both residential and commercial developers.
Allen Pyke worked closely with urban designers to develop the design code documents, which has set out the parameters, and character areas for the three large neighbourhoods along with public open spaces across the site. We have since evolved this design guidance into detailed landscape proposals for reserved matters planning applications, tender and construction packages for almost 30 residential phases.

The development is recognised in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s National Design Guide (2021) as one of three ‘good practice examples’ of designing for the ‘Built Form’.

The District Centre Square is at the heart of the development. It contains commercial and community uses, including a medical centre and community centre and is linked directly to three educational facilities. It must balance the safety and circulation of high numbers of pedestrians and cyclists with heavy vehicular movements along the estate’s main arterial road. Each facility surrounding the Square was built by a different developer. A key challenge of our design for the Square was to create a seamless yet coordinated public realm.

The large greenfield site had been intensively farmed and contained only a few existing landscape features. Those present were protected by Tree Preservation Order (TPO), or by requirements set out in the s106, e.g., restoration of an existing degraded pond. The site is largely flat and subject to rigorous drainage restrictions as a result SuDS constraints were a key driver of the masterplan; therefore, the landscape proposals have been developed to create a multi-functional amenity space which are attractive to residents and beneficial to wildlife.
The detailed design of the public open spaces coincides with the residential phases to ensure new residents were provided with an attractive and safe living environment as well as a space to play. The development contains several large public parks, which include play areas of different characters, and play experience. A large area of formal sports pitches and a skate park are also provided.
Play areas range from traditional equipped playgrounds with swings and slides, to more adventurous, natural spaces with climbable logs, boulders, and a bamboo maze. A brightly coloured undulating play space is in front of one of the primary school close to the District Square. This acts an important way marker and helps with the orientation around this very large development. The design of the play areas and skate park were informed by several public consultation events with residents within the local area, youth groups, and school children.


  • Landscape Strategy
  • Framework Plans and Local Area Briefs.
  • Concept Design
  • Reserved Matters and conditions clearance for residential and commercial areas
  • Play Area design for seven locations
  • Skate Park coordinate with specialist to design and deliver wheeled sports facilities
  • Landscape Management and Maintenance Plans
  • Site Supervision
  • Sports Pitches: coordinate with soil specialists to deliver a high standard sporting facility.
  • Public Consultation including workshops with local school children and young people, sports clubs, and residents.
  • Public Art: represent the client on the Public Art Steering Group, helping to write the brief and make selection of artists for the site wide art trail.
  • Sustainable Drainage: coordinate with drainage engineers to develop the site wide SuDS strategy through the creation of multi-functional landscapes.
  • Liaison with Local Planning Authority: preparation of materials for pre-app meetings, liaise with council officers to develop proposals.
  • Adoption: preparation of materials to assist with the handover of open spaces and attendance at site inspections.