A planning application for a unique eco village will be submitted by wheelbarrow at County Hall this morning.

The planning application will be submitted by Lammas under the council's new Low Impact Development policy.

The group has spent the past two years designing the eco village and is asking the planners for consent to site nine eco houses and a community hub building on land in Glandwr.

"We want to build a low impact community on 76 acres of former grazing land based on the traditional model of a village of smallholdings but brought into the 21st century by the use of cutting edge green technologies," explained Lammas founding member Paul Wimbush.

The project has been designed so that the nine smallholdings will fit into an overall design plan for the whole site that takes full account of the needs of existing wildlife and other important features.

"Rather than conserve what is already there, however, our aim is to significantly increase biodiversity," said Lammas chairman Sarah Sims Williams. "We have rigorous monitoring procedures in our plans so we can measure our performance."

She went on to say that extensive ecological, soil, geological and visual impact surveys of the area have already been carried out.

The project promises to protect the natural environment and to provide many direct benefits for local people, including the provision of much needed low cost housing.

"If the project doesn't go ahead, my family and I will have to continue renting indefinitely," said Simon Dale, a prospective resident of the eco village.

"All we want to do is make a small living on the land but the current prices of smallholdings make this totally impossible for us. Even if we could borrow enough money to buy one, we could never make enough money from the land to pay the mortgage."

Because of the strict regulations imposed by the planners, the buildings erected on the site will have a very low visual impact and blend into the landscape.

They cannot be made out of conventional materials. Instead, natural materials sourced locally must be used. These include earth, turf, timber and straw.

The buildings have been designed using a combination of the latest in green technologies combined with traditional building skills. The houses will incorporate many sustainable technologies such as passive solar heating, rainwater harvesting and electricity generation from renewable sources such as wind, water and solar, and the whole site will not be allowed to use any mains services.

Prospective residents know that life in the eco village is going to be hard work. The planners require that 75% of all household needs must be met directly from the land. Each smallholding has had to be meticulously planned to meet this requirement and a broad spectrum of enterprises is proposed ranging from strawberry production to furniture making.

The eco village plans to co-exist harmoniously with Glandwr village and enhance the lives of the residents there. Smallholdings will offer high quality seasonal produce for sale as well as a shuttle minibus to and from the local station.

Further details about Lammas and the eco village can be found at www.lammas.org.uk including links to some short films on the project.

Log on on Monday for a video about the Lammas project, recorded and edited by Undercurrents.