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Saturday, October 10, 1998 Published at 03:21 GMT 04:21 UK


Pipex founder to build a town

Kings College, Cambridge: The new town would be about 10 miles away.

The man behind one of the UK's biggest Internet companies is planning a radical new development - a new town.

Andy Bell reports on another plan to build 2,500 homes in Berkshire
Peter Dawe, the multimillionaire founder of Unipalm Pipex, has unveiled plans for a new town for 50,000 people outside Cambridge.

If he gets the go ahead, it will be Britain's first new town since 1970 and the first to be privately funded since World War II.

The father of the UK's first Internet service provider has joined forces with Wyndham Thomas - former chief executive of Peterborough New Town Development Corporation - to form the Cambridge New Town Corporation.

He wants to build the town five to 10 miles outside the Cambridge.

Mr Dawe told The Financial Times that he has his eye on a military property at Oakington, but would consider other sites, and his corporation is waiting to find out the thoughts of local authorities.

The revelation comes in a new book celebrating the centenary of Ebenezer Howard's Garden Cities of To-Morrow, which led to the creation of Letchworth and Welwyn and 30 new towns around the UK.

Mr Dawe said the plan would ease development pressures on Cambridge and the surrounding countryside.

He also said that developers, university colleges, Cambridge companies combined with some public investment could go to funding the project.

Massive demand for homes

Government estimates say that 4.4 million new homes must be created between 1991 and 2016 - but there is a massive, and as yet unresolved debate about where these homes should be built.

Sir Peter Hall, a leading member of the government's urban task force, also makes a proposal in the same book for three cities of up to 250,000 people to be created 50 to 90 miles from London.

The chairman of the Town and Country Planning Association says the government is unlikely to achieve a target of building 60% of new homes on recycled, or brownfield, land within 10 years.

He wants to see three cities called the City of Mercia, City of Anglia and City of Kent.

City of Mercia would run from Rugby, Northampton and Wellingborough up to Kettering and Corby.

A City of Anglia would include Peterborough, Huntingdon, Cambridge and Stevenage while a City of Kent would be around Ashford, Margate, Dover and Folkestone.

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