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Trio of prizes for West Midlands’ top rated accesible B&B in Fastershire's fastest parish

Rural B&B set to receive ultrafast broadband thanks to Fastershire’s fibre rollout

Owners Edward and Marion Drzymalski win business survey prize draw, presented with iPad Air by Herefordshire Councillor Jenny Hyde

Thatch Close Cottages for the disabled, the first guesthouse in the West Midlands to receive the National Accessibility Schemes’ top level M3 award

Herefordshire-based Thatch Close Cottages is enjoying the perfect start to 2015 after becoming the first M3 rated B&B in the West Midlands, winning an iPad Air in a Europe-wide draw and receiving confirmation that they will soon be connected to a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) ultrafast broadband connection.

Like almost 150 other Herefordshire businesses, owners Edward and Marion completed a survey into the broadband access and consumption of SMEs across Europe run by Herefordshire Council as part of its involvement in the CREATE (Connecting Rural Enterprise for a Transnational Economy) project.  They were selected at random to be the winner of an iPad for their participation in the survey, and it was presented by Councillor Jenny Hyde.

Fastershire was also on hand to confirm that Thatch Close Cottages will be one of many homes and businesses within the parish of Llangarron to benefit from the project’s rollout, which will deliver a 100-fold increase in speeds across the parish this Spring.*

To ensure they can exploit the opportunities that faster, more reliable fibre broadband offers, Herefordshire Council will offer Thatch Close Cottages a free CREATE review. This service is available to all SMEs in the county and can provide advice, mentoring and support to fully exploit the potential of using advanced IT including superfast broadband.

Herefordshire businesses who wish to take advantage of the services offered by the CREATE project, including the demonstration of new technologies, specialist support through expert advisors and access to e-guides providing IT-related business advice, should register their interest at www.fastershire.com/create.

Edward and Marian, owners of Thatch Close Cottages for the disabled said: “Communication is key to maintaining and expanding a business and the improved broadband will provide a real boost to our area. The iPad was a wonderful surprise and we’d like to thank those involved in the Fastershire project for bringing superfast broadband to the parish of Llangarron.”

Cllr Jenny Hyde, ward member for Llagarron said: “Thatch Close already offers a high standard of holiday accommodation, but these new cottages are a really remarkable achievement, providing the most accessible accommodation for the severely disabled in the West Midlands in one of rural Herefordshire many beautiful locations. I wish Edward and Marion the very best and hope that Fastershire’s provision of ultrafast broadband will help them to draw more guests to explore our county.”

Thatch Close offers three cottages designed to provide high levels of accessibility for guests. Valley View, a two bed cottage overlooking the Garron valley, is the first such accommodation to be awarded an M3 rating by the National Accessibility Scheme and includes rise and fall kitchen, bedroom and bathroom surfaces and a wheelchair accessible wet room. It also boasts an English Tourist Board Standard 5 Star rating.

Cider Cottage and Bramble’s Barn are both rated M1 by the National Accessibility Scheme, and all three cottages have H2 and V1 standard awards. Thatch Close Farm is located near the village of Llangrove. More information is available at www.thatchclose.co.uk.

Around 450 homes and businesses in Llangarron and the nearby villages of Llancloudy and Llangrove will be able to get high-speed fibre broadband – with many having access to potential speeds of up to 330Mbps. The current average in the village is around 3Mbps.

A mixture of technologies is being used to roll-out superfast broadband to Llangarron. It involves engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – laying around 14 miles of fibre optic cable between now and the end of March. The average potential download speed will be 156Mbps, making it one of the fastest rural parishes in the UK.

More information on the CREATE project can be found at www.create-nwe.eu

Tags: Business and economy, Community and living