LESSONS from the past must be used to shape plans for the latest giant new housing estate in Oxfordshire, residents have stressed.

As Taylor Wimpey revealed the first stage of Valley Park in Didcot, community leaders urged all involved 'not to repeat the same mistakes' as those seen in neighbouring Great Western Park (GWP) in the past decade.

In one of the biggest estates ever planned in Oxfordshire, 4,254 homes are set to be built at the site along with two new primary schools, shops, sports facilities, playing fields, allotments and open spaces.

Effectively an extension of GWP, the new estate – roughly the size of 150 football pitches – will expand Didcot almost as far as the Milton Interchange and together the two will eventually house a third of the town's population.

Gareth Clarke, chairman of the GWP Residents' Association, said he wanted to see facilities finished a lot quicker than they were on his own estate.

The home buyers who moved into GWP in 2011 complained of being cut off with no shop, pub, community centre or schools.

All have since been built but the wait goes on for a doctors surgery, and infrastructure including traffic calming measures have struggled to keep up with the pace of people moving in, causing major problems.

Mr Clarke said: "The size of the estate obviously raises a lot of questions – should our emergency services be looking at expanding or relocating? How can we limit the disruption of the building work? How to integrate the thousands of new first-time buyers it's sure to attract?

"Hopefully people are going to be speaking to each other a lot earlier this time. At GWP, facilities lagged behind the speed of housebuilding and I think everyone is keen to learn from that."

Reverend Mark Bodeker, the minister of the Great Western Park Church, agreed it had been a challenge to create a thriving community on the estate, given the delays in facilities.

He said: "We are really pushing for the community buildings to be put in earlier.

"We also need roads and infrastructure at the same time houses are built.

"There is a great sense of community here but it doesn't take much to lose that goodwill quite quickly."

Taylor Wimpey, working with other developers, already has outline planning permission for the estate and has opened a consultation on its plans for the first 190 private and 103 affordable homes.

It is hoped road improvements – including widening the A4130 – will accommodate much of the extra traffic, but town councillor Nick Hards said the increase in congestion was still top of his list of concerns.

He said: "They are talking about starting this within the next 10 months but we still have significant building work on GWP and traffic is already stacked up nightly by the Milton Interchange.

"This is the worst area for air quality and it'll only be made worse unless more is done to ease congestion."

However potential first-time buyers Mark Kersley, 19, and Jack Rooke, 18, were positive about the plans – saying they would be keen to move in when it is finished.

The pair, who currently live in Wantage and are hoping to get jobs at Vodafone in Newbury, are looking to buy a new one bedroom flat.

Mr Kersley said: "It is exactly what we are looking for. Our only concern is it doesn't have a doctors' surgery.

"A lot of people complain about housebuilding but we need these affordable homes. I think it is a good thing."

A Taylor Wimpey spokeswoman said the company was pleased at the response to its consultation so far.

She added: "We will take all comments into consideration as we start the process of preparing our detailed planning application."

Another public exhibition of the plans will held at the former GWP sales centre on Tuesday, December 4, from 4pm to 7pm.