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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Dorset town is re-built in China
Chinese town modelled on Dorchester
The town includes shared courtyards for children and games of mahjong
A town in China has been modelled on Dorchester after planners saw the town's picture on a Christmas card.

The development in Chengdun, Sichuan province, named British Town, is complete with mock Victorian and Georgian architecture.

A UK consulting firm was invited to submit the plans after one of its employees sent the card featuring the Dorset town to a friend in China.

The employee's friend happened to be responsible for designing the new town.

Terraces and flats

Steve Pharoah, the town planner who sent the card, said: "One of the design challenges is adapting Dorchester's Englishness to a very different scale of development.

"Instead of two or three storeys, the buildings typically have six to 20 storeys."

The 54-acre site on former wasteland is lined with terraces and blocks of flats named after Dorset landmarks such as Poole Promenade.

When completely occupied, British Town is expected to house about 5,000 people.

Recent developments in China have also taken as inspiration architecture from Italy and Germany.

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