Scents of community

14.05.20: THE SOAP and cosmetics manufacturer Pheromonix has turned back the clock 200 years and built a complete new village for its staff.

"We have reinvented the model village," said the company president, Tudor Watkins. "People have had enough of so-called 'virtual communities' where they can meet only like-minded people on the Web and where their only colleague is a screen. They want real work and real colleagues in real communities ­ and that's what we're giving them."

The village lies on former forestry land near Thetford in Norfolk. Called New Croxton by its architects, but "Corporateville" by critics, it includes housing, a health centre, school, library, art gallery, sports hall and church.

"They want to own people and control what's in their heads," said Courtney Bell, a fragrance modeller with a home telework unit in Saffron Walden who resigned from his regular job rather than change his way of life. RG