Teleworkers dream village goes bust

How green screen was my valley

Britain's first village designed for people embracing the concept of teleworking has been put in receivership because almost after a third of the homes remain unsold.

The 39 home hamlet was built at Crickhowell in rural Wales. Buyers were promised a telecentre with fibre optic links to each of the homes as their way to access the information superhighway and work remotely. This has not been built yet.

The people living there in the beautiful Wales countryside seem to like the lifestyle but are a bit cheesed off they haven't got the Net access they expected. The Independent reports this has led to some residents giving up the teleworking dream and earning a crust by hand-painting Christmas cards or teaching yoga.

The Indy quotes villager David Diprose who believes the fibre-optic network would have helped with job opportunities. "It would also have removed the cost of setting up our own modem links. I cannot afford to be on-line 24 hours a day as I would like," he said.

Houses in the village are pricey compared with the rest of Wales - costing between £89,000 and £369,000. The site was built by Acorn Technologies, whose MD Ashley Dodds imported the concept from Scandinavia. Building started in 1996 and the first house was sold a year later.

Dutch ethical bank Triodos pulled the plug on the venture. The receivers have indicated there is a buyer interested in the site and completing the development at close to the original specification. ®

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