Eco-development could be forced to start from scratch

An ambitious scheme to build a small eco-community that has been trying to get off the ground for more than two years has hit another obstacle.

The team behind the Lammas project, who want to build nine smallholdings in the Welsh countryside, had their second planning application for the scheme turned down in September.

They appealed to the Planning Inspectorate for Wales earlier this month, but have been told their planning application is technically invalid because it did not include an Access Statement detailing how the site would be accessible for disabled and able-bodied people.

The Lammas team accused Pembrokeshire County Council, the local planning authority for their proposed site, of informing them that they would not need the document.

It became a legal requirement for all planning applications to include the document in July 2007, before Lammas resubmitted their application.

Paul Wimbush, Lammas coordinator, said: "This amounts to gross negligence on the part of the planning authority and it is totally unacceptable.

"We have bent over backwards to work within the planning system and time and time again have been obstructed by the planners."

Lammas has written to Welsh Environment Minister Jane Davidson asking her to intervene in the case.

Responding to the accusations, Pembrokeshire County Council told edie the onus is on the applicant to submit the correct papers.

In a statement about Lammas' second application, the council said: "The application comprised five boxes of information and while there was some discussion at the time with the agent about an Access Statement, this was ultimately not submitted.

"Some information in respect of accessibility was included in the submission but not access issues in relation to the proposed dwellings.

"The Council is unaware that, according to Lammas, it was advised by the Authority that an Access Statement would not be required. This allegation will be investigated further.

"Consideration is being given to how this issue can be resolved. It is not clear yet whether a new planning application will need to be submitted."

Kate Martin



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