Page last updated at 11:14 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 12:14 UK

Winner in 'green' village contest

One of the artist's imptressions of how Lawrenny could look
The project aims to turn the community into an 'eco-village'

A competition to find an architect to turn a Pembrokeshire community into an "eco-village" has announced a winner.

Bristol-based Tom Russell Architects have been picked to head the Lawrenny EcoVillage Project, which aims to make the village a green energy showcase.

The contest, to design 30 homes and workplace which use solar power and biomass energy, had nearly 100 entries.

Project leaders say the centuries-old village, with a population of less than 100, would almost double in size.

The village, in Pembrokeshire National Park, is currently holder of the title of Wales's Best Village.

The eco-project aims to develop "carbon zero" homes. Ideas include using methane from manure as cooking gas.

Lawrenny Perfect Village

Power will be generated centrally by biomass from surrounding woodland

A municipal heating system will supply all new homes

Gas from a methane digester on the farm will be supplied for cooking

Adrian Lort-Phillips, managing director of Lawrenny Enterprises, a family-run company that commissioned the competition, said it was hoped the scheme would "produce an exemplar for sustainable development in rural areas".

He said: "We were so impressed by Tom's vision, his understanding of what makes a community like Lawrenny so wonderful, and most of all the breathtaking simplicity of his designs.

"The greatest challenge was to create a seamless join onto the existing settlement in this beautiful national park village.

"He's managed to do that and still give us homes that will be utterly sustainable, beautiful and, most importantly of all, a joy to live in."

The four finalists in the contest, run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) had their ideas displayed in the village last weekend.

Many villagers appear supportive of the plan, believing new residents will help Lawrenny to thrive.

Marie Hunter, 36, who has lived in Lawrenny for three-and-a-half years, said the village needed more people, particularly families, to be able to survive.

"When we moved here there were only three or four families with kids and my son was the youngest but there's now two or three more," she said.

"In order for this village to still be here in 100 years, you need the families."

She was also enthusiastic about the environmentally-friendly nature of the proposals but recognised there would be some upheaval when the houses were built.

John Gossage, treasurer of Lawrenny Village Shop Association, said the village was already "punching above its weight" and the proposals would allow that to continue.

"It's quite a dynamic community and clearly it wants to protect what it has and the way to do that is to develop," he said.

"There's a clear relationship between size of settlement and the services it can sustain."

Jan Ferris, 64, who is due to move away from Lawrenny later this year, said she welcomed new people moving to the village but was not sure the project would succeed.

"It depends what the people moving in are like," she said.

Perfect village designs unveiled
25 Jul 08 |  South West Wales

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