TRIBUTE: '˜Great deal of thanks' owed to man responsible for Peterborough's parkways

Peterborough owes a great deal of thanks to the man responsible for its parkway system, according to a former colleague and friend.

Monday, 15th August 2016, 5:58 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:03 pm
Kenneth (third from left, red tie) with the Queen and Prince Philip in May 1988 at the opening of the then head office of Norwich and Peterborough Building Society

David Bath was paying tribute to Kenneth Hutton who passed away aged 85 at Peterborough City Hospital on July 27.

Kenneth was chief engineer at the Peterborough Development Corporation for 16 years following its inception in 1968, then spent four years as its general manager before it was wound up in 1988.

The development corporation was responsible for the creation of the modern Peterborough through building up of townships, establishing the major road network and creating the Queensgate Shopping Centre.

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Kenneth Hutton

Kenneth’s responsibilities included the parkways system which David, director of planning at the development corporation, believes has drawn businesses into the city.

He said: “Kenneth Hutton was there from day one to the last day, the full 20 years.

“What people will most remember of his achievements is the parkways. They remain one of the greatest legacies the development corporation left behind and have served the city so well.

“Peterborough was and still is regarded as one of the most accessible third generation new towns designated in the late 1960s. I think Peterborough has a great deal to thank him for his contribution to that success.”

Kenneth Hutton

David also praised Kenneth’s work in establishing the city’s existing cycling network, adding: “Peterborough had at the time one of the most extensive cycle systems anywhere in the country and was highly regarded.”

Kenneth was also the consultant engineer for Queensgate and was, David acknowledged, a man who was very skilled at his profession.

He said: “We all became friends. He was very direct, very clear in what he wanted and what he thought we should seek to achieve, but he worked with us and there was a mutual respect. He was a pleasure to work with and a very skilled engineer.”

An only child, Kenneth was born in Bradford in 1931 and received a scholarship to Belle Vue High School.

He studied civil engineering on a scholarship at Liverpool University from 1949-52 then began working in the engineers department at the town council in Halifax.

Kenneth, who was fluent in German, undertook national service for two years from 1954 which saw him serve with the Royal Engineers in Germany, helping with reconstruction projects in the country.

The following decade then saw him take on the challenge of helping to build-up the towns of Skelmersdale (west of Wigan) and Telford (in Shropshire), before he moved to Peterborough to become the chief engineer of the development corporation.

Kenneth’s son Adrian said: “He was very proud of what he did and what he achieved.”

The development corporation built-up the Ortons, Werrington and Bretton, but despite Kenneth’s best efforts the township of Castor never went ahead due to the Government “pursuing other objectives,” according to David.

He added: “It would have brought in several thousand more houses and several thousand more jobs.”

Kenneth was divorced from his first wife Audrey. His second wife Georgia passed away a week after him.

A joint funeral for the couple will be held at St Mary’s Church, Orton Waterville on Wednesday, August 17 at noon.

There is a request for no flowers but donations, if desired, for UNICEF may be sent to John Lucas Funeral Directors Ltd, 31 Dogsthorpe Road, Peterborough, PE1 3AD.

Kenneth is survived by his only child Adrian, as well as stepchildren Robert, Denise and Marcus.