More than 200 people packed into Ysgol y Preseli's hall for a heated public hearing on the proposed Lammas project this week.

Emotions ran high among supporters and objectors at the meeting, chaired by Welsh Assembly planning inspectorate Andrew Poulter.

Lammas Low Impact Initiatives Ltd appealed to the Welsh Assembly on the grounds of non-determination by Pembrokeshire County Council within the statutory eight week period.

This is the second application to build a sustainable eco village consisting of nine low impact small holdings at Pontygafael, near Glandwr.

The County Council refused an earlier application on September 2008, and said the current proposal still failed to meet certain criteria.

Applicant Paul Wimbush and a team of four experts explained how the project aimed to reach a One Planet footprint at Tuesday's meeting, and responded to residents' fears.

The group are confident they meet the necessary 75% of their basic needs from the land within a reasonable time, and say their business plan is constantly being updated.

Several local residents voiced their objections and questioned the viability of farming what they described as poor soil.

They also expressed concerns about the impact of the development on the welsh language in the area, and stated the group had not made an effort to integrate into the community.

Other concerns included the impact of extra traffic, and tenants living of the taxpayer.

Melanie Newton, a local resident, who runs a small holding said there were numerous misrepresentations and inconsistencies in the application, and disputed the costs quoted.

She said: "The figures seem to have been plucked from the air. Their knowledge of the applicant regarding animal husbandry seems sketchy at best, as well as their growing skills.

"I do not believe the proposal will provide sufficient livelihood for residents on the site."

Former vet and farmer Brian Eagles: "It is some of the poorest land in the area, it really only is poor quality sheep grazing. They have basically picked the wrong site."

Mr Wimbush said: "At the heart of this project is a different approach. I have seen a family survive in a tougher location than Glandwr. All sorts of things are possible if you give them a chance."

"Everyone will be expected to pay council tax. None of us expect social security benefits or subsidies, we believe in self reliance."

When asked why they chose this particular piece of land Mr Wimbush said: "In our opinion it is a perfect piece of land, it holds huge potential from a permaculture perspective."

He added Lammas had written to everyone in the village, held public meetings and encouraged people to get in touch through the website.

Mr Wimbush said: "Yes there is a chasm there. I would hope that time and truth would heal that.

"I have been learning welsh since September and speak it with my children, I would like to see the Lammas community speaking Welsh."

He added that he lived some miles from the village at the moment which made it more difficult to get involved in the Glandwr community.

Potential resident Cassandra Lishman said: "There is a huge amount of negative feeling about Lammas in the village.

"We want to integrate with the local community, I feel very upset when people tell me that I do not belong here."

Rebecca Owen a smallholder from Mynachlog Ddu said: "The whole system is caught up in red tape,Lammas has jumped through so many hoops and are still standing up for making a positive change here.

One supporter stated: "How on earth is this Welsh Assembly policy ever going to start until someone has the balls to say 'give them a go'? If it fails the land will still be there, Lammas will lose their money and the local residents will be able to say 'I told you so'."

Mr Wimbush concluded: "I would welcome all the local people up to the project to come and talk to us. We are not monsters. Just give us a chance, especially the children which will soon be in the village."

The inspector visited the site the following day, and is expected to reach a decision at the end of August.

For more information on the project visit