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Smith’s Wharf Playground Works

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Client: South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) and Vale of White Horse District Council

Project: Smith Wharf wantage

Department: Highways and Engineering

Date of completion: May 2024

Budget: £70k


The ODS Highways & Engineering team was tasked with managing a project to remove a deteriorated wall and regenerate a long-closed playground. The South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) provided the scope of work in the tender documents, which also set the baseline budget. This allowed the team to source eco-friendly, low carbon footprint products. Collaborating with a structural engineer, they designed and built a new retaining wall, significantly improving the playground, as evidenced by before and after photos.

Why ODS:

Our team delivers high-quality highways work and seamless service to SODC, providing excellent value for money to our clients and Oxford residents. We leverage local knowledge and extensive expertise from RoSPA to ensure exceptional results.


The project area experienced extremely heavy footfall, presenting several challenges. We encountered issues with anti-social behavior and the repeated overnight pulling down of security fencing. Additionally, the surrounding path was too narrow, requiring adjustments to ensure safe passage for users around the site.

We managed the site by closing half the area at a time, using clear signs and additional arrows to guide the public safely around the perimeter for access to shops. To prevent unwanted intrusions, we used chains and padlocks secured to fixed items, providing photo evidence to our client. This effectively kept the site safe overnight, allowing work to continue smoothly each day. Additionally, we replaced some clamp barriers with a new 30-degree chevron system further up the ramp, ensuring the path was fully compliant with regulations.


Quotes from  SODC

  • Wow what a transformation, this all looks really good.

  • I popped to site this morning and am very pleased with the playground surface finish.

  • Excellent work on the play area and alterations to the barriers.

  • Much improved and the whole area has a much nicer feel about it 

  • Regards the project, just wanted to say, once we got started, really good progress, great communications right through to the completion