THE deceptively peaceful village of Tattenhall is the most thriving business community in England - and that's official.
Described by judges as an excellent example of how business can be an integral part of developing a sustainable village, Tattenhall was chosen on Tuesday as the recipient of the Calor/Business in the Community award in the 2003 Calor Village of the Year competition.
The village, with a population of little more than 2,000, beat off rivals in Leicestershire, Bedfordshire, Hampshire, Herefordshire and Conwy to be named Business in the Community winner.
Tattenhall was voted the county's most vibrant village by Cheshire Community Council in September.
It also won a category prize for Older People in the Northern England region of the competition, which recognises how the village provides older residents with the opportunity to pursue different interests through a number of clubs and the Tattenhall Day Centre.
Martin Cooke, chairman of Tattenhall Recreation Club, and David Tanswell, surveyor for Tattenhall's Bolesworth Estate, were presented with a plaque, certificates and cash prizes by TV personality Alan Titchmarsh and Calor MD Howard Kerr.
Tattenhall Parish Council chairman Marguerite Turner said: 'We are delighted. Everybody has contributed to this success and special thanks must go to Jean Dutton, parish council clerk, who always works so hard for the village.
'We would also like to thank Bolesworth Estate, which has encouraged a wide variety of new businesses to become established in the area and helped to make Tattenhall a flourishing commercial community.'
Bolesworth Estate director Anthony Barbour said: 'This is a well-deserved award for Tattenhall, reflecting the commitment and enthusiasm of the parish council and everyone living in the village. It is vitally important for the future of our rural communities that villages continue to adapt, diversify and thrive and this award reflects Tattenhall's many achievements.'
Tattenhall provides jobs for more than 700 people, 530 of these within Bolesworth Estate properties.
David Tanswell said: 'This award is recognition of our objective. We have been saying other business is necessary to supplement the rural economy. This is recognition from the establishment that what we have been saying is correct.'
He added business brought to the community has helped smaller shops to survive.
'The number of jobs and main businesses in the village provides daytime customers for the shops and other services, which are also making the village vital and sustainable,' said Mr Tanswell.
Among assets brought to the judges' attention is the business club, started by Martin Cooke.
He said: 'Although there were a lot of businesses here, they didn't talk to each other much and there were many who commuted to Tattenhall.
'I thought there is an advantage to be gained in introducing them to each other. We meet three times a year - it's to get people to know each other and to discuss how to get people to work together within the community.'
TES (Technical Editing Services), based in the High Street, was attracted to Tattenhall for its capacity to accommodate growing businesses.
The company, which employs about 40, is an international technical agency for the oil industry, specialising in helping companies to explain their technology to other businesses.
TES has grown and now has offices in Houston, Amsterdam and London.
Garry Charnock, the company's CEO, said: 'Mr Barbour has been instrumental in encouraging modern businesses to set up in Tattenhall. We moved here because they were able to provide us with the kinds of offices and facilities we needed to run an international business.'
Tom Fell is the founder of Cheshire Farm Ice Cream, which attracts 200,000 visitors annually. The company provides jobs for 30 full-time and up to 18 part-time staff, selling ice cream to outlets within 100 mile radius of Chester and airlines flying as far as Toronto and Dubai.
He said: 'Tattenhall is the place I will always stay. We have got everything.
'Over the years business has grown within the village and there are very few villages that would come up to Tattenhall's standards. We have got a very mixed selection of businesses and facilities - everything every village would be crying out for.'