DEVELOPERS behind a controversial £3.5 million housing scheme have defended their plans.

Villagers are furious over the proposals for 30 affordable homes on green belt land in Cullingworth.

But Yorkshire Housing and Partner Construction, which have drawn up the scheme in conjunction with the Homes and Communities Agency, say the "high quality" houses would quickly fulfil an urgent need for affordable properties in the village.

The initiative also includes 12 community allotments.

Last week we revealed how residents feared the planned scheme – for land at the junction of Haworth Road and Turf Lane – would put massive strain on Cullingworth's infrastructure, create a flooding risk and overload already-congested roads.

However Ged Walsh, new business and development director with Yorkshire Housing, told the Keighley News the venture would provide huge benefits.

"Cullingworth and its surrounding villages are popular places in which to live which means as house prices and private rents rise, local people can find themselves priced out," he said. "The new homes will be let to people in need of an affordable property, mainly from the local area.

"These high-quality homes are designed to be in keeping with the village. For example we will retain the dry stone wall boundaries, including the one fronting Haworth Road, and the houses will be built from materials which will fit in to their surroundings."

The plans – which have been submitted to Bradford Council – are for 15 two-bedroom houses, 13 three-bedroom properties and two two-bedroom bungalows, plus allotments.

Energy-saving features including combination boilers and high levels of thermal insulation would feature in the homes, and there would be a 'sustainable' drainage system to manage run-off from the properties, with a pond to provide habitat for wildlife.

If approved, it is hoped work will start next March, with a completion target of April 2016.

Mr Walsh said they were keen to work with the community on the project, and were in the process of scheduling meetings with the village council and other groups.

He added that an Incommunities housing register showed there were more than 100 people from Cullingworth in need of affordable accommodation.

"It would currently take over 13 years to accommodate each household in need and much longer for certain property types – some of which are planned as part of this new development," he said.

"This is offering a quick solution to the lack of affordable homes in the area."