PLANS for an environmentally sustainable holiday centre on the outskirts of Richmond have hit a major hurdle.

The planning application for the scheme at Aislabeck, just west of the town, goes before the district council's planning committee today.

The Council for the Protection of Rural England has lodged an objection to the scheme and the Highways Authority has expressed concern over visibility at the present access.

District councillors are now expected to vote for a site visit before making a decision.

Richmond-based Eco Build UK wants to build the centre on open countryside between Hurgill Road and Westfields.

It plans to create 18 self-catering holiday lodges, using the latest 'green' technology and recycled materials.

The land to be developed covers about three hectares of the 25-hectare site and the rest of the land - currently regarded as relatively poor in ecological terms - would then be enhanced and improved through a detailed management plan.

However the site is beyond the defined 'development limits' for Richmond and, together with the surrounding land, is designated as an Area of Great Landscape Value.

A report to councillors says one of the policies in the district's Local Plan restricts new development in open countryside while accepting the need for rural diversification.