Plans to create a network of 'eco-towns' suffered another blow yesterday after one of the landowners of a high profile potential site near Cambridge pulled out.

The Wellcome Trust, the medical research charity, has decided not to proceed with the proposal to develop an environmentally friendly community on the Hanley Grange site, where it owns 270 acres.

The decision throws doubt on the feasibility of the Hanley Grange project and is a fresh knock to ministers’ plans to promote the development of 10 eco-towns – the first new towns for 40 years.

The 12,000-home scheme, proposed by a company called Jarrow Investments, which owns much of the remaining land and is acting for supermarket giant Tesco, has met fierce local opposition. Wellcome Trust said it had given “very careful consideration to the approach” but decided not to go ahead. It offered no further details.

Financial Times