Page last updated at 12:24 GMT, Thursday, 27 August 2009 13:24 UK

'Eco-village' wins planning fight

Model of proposed terraced house in the eco-village
Nine homes and a community hub will be built on woodland

Backers of a proposed eco-village of small holdings made of straw, turf and timber in rural Pembrokeshire have won an appeal for planning permission.

Lammas, the group behind the bid, was twice refused consent by the county council for nine homes at Glandwr.

A Welsh Assembly Government planning inspector has ruled it was unlikely the visual impact of the village would be harmful to the surrounding area.

There had been 119 objections and 865 letters of support for the application.

The project also consists of a community hub building and a seasonal campsite.

Prospective resident Cassandra Lishman said the decision brought to an end a two-and-a-half year battle for planning consent.

"At last we can begin building our homes. We are delighted that the Welsh Assembly Government is bold enough to put their policies into practice," she added.

Strict regulations mean the buildings on the site must have a low visual impact, blend into the landscape and cannot be made out of conventional materials such as concrete blocks and cement.

Agricultural setting

The houses will use sustainable technologies such as solar heating, rainwater harvesting and electricity generation from renewable sources such as wind, water and solar.

The site will not be allowed to use any mains services.

Each smallholding must be largely self-sufficient with a range of enterprises planned ranging from strawberry production to basketry, smoked hams to furniture making.

Opponents said the village would "destroy the tranquillity" of Glandwr and the local infrastructure could not cope.

But the planning inspectorate ruled: "Whist the proposed development would have a number of effects on the landscape, most would represent a small degree of change.

"The character of the area would remain largely that of agricultural development within an agricultural setting."

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