A LANDMARK development of the region's first eco-village has moved a step closer to fruition.

Planners have recommended that the £100m development on the outskirts of Darlington is given approval.

The 80 acre development will use green fuels and wind and water power in an attempt to be 100 per cent carbon and water neutral.

It also aims to be a cultural centre and will utilise public art and provide workshop and performance space for the regions artists.

The development will take place on the site of the former Paton and Baldwin wool factory on the eastern side of Darlington.

The planning application which has been submitted to Darlington Borough Council is an outline scheme which includes plans for: * 1,220 homes.

* A primary school.

* A residential care home.

* Offices and shops.

* An energy centre and wind turbine.

* Community and arts facilities.

* Sports facilities, public open spaces and allotments.

If the planning application is successful it is anticipated that the ambitious scheme will take 16 years before it is all completed.

A number of different organisations have been consulted about the application and are generally supportive.

Although police have expressed concern about crime prevention issues at the site and Sadberge Parish Council has objected to it on the grounds that it might cause more traffic to pass through the village.

However, the Campaign for Rural England has said: "We note this is an outline application so indicative only, but we applaud the holistic consideration shown in the proposals and the imagination to look beyond providing only residential and commercial premises.

"The Lingfield Point development is being carried out by developer Marchday Plc."

A huge piece of public art, Futurescope, a 45ft diameter circular series of photographs has been erected on the side of the Powerhouse, the factory's former turbine hall.

In recommending approval for the scheme, Darlington Borough Council's planning officers have said the application would contribute to national and regional objectives to reuse previously developed land and accelerate growth in the Tees Valley.

Their report adds: "The proposal will generally assist in delivering sustainable development objectives such as embedded renewable energy, sustainable building measures bio-diversity and public access."

The application will go before the council's planning committee on Wednesday (july 29) at 1.30pm in Darlington town hall.