Cameras have been installed to stop vandals at the controversial site of a proposed 220-home development in Steeton.

Redrow Homes said it had placed several cameras in the fields off Thornhill Road following incidents of criminal damage.

The fields are surrounded on all sides by high fences, and fences also cover both sides of a footpath that runs through the fields.

Redrow, which gained planning permission last autumn to build houses, said vandals had damaged both the fences and the site.

But local resident Chris Bryant claimed the “sinister” appearance of the cameras, on top of poles, proved that “Big Brother is watching”.

Mr Bryant, of Parkway, said: “Quite why anyone should spend time and money keeping an eye on people on a path through a green field is a puzzle.

“There is no sign to warn the public that they’re being watched by someone in a remote location. People should be told that constant covert surveillance is in progress.”

Proposals to build a large number of houses in the fields were first put forward in 2008, and since then plans by both Skipton Properties and Redrow Homes have been opposed by villagers.

Bradford Council planners approved the latest application last September despite parish council concerns about vehicle access and sewage provision.

The villagers’ hopes now lie with an application by villagers Shona Cole and Joanne Stokes for the fields to be classed as a village green. The matter is due to go to a public inquiry.

A spokesman for Redrow Homes this week told the Keighley News: “Security cameras have been installed at our proposed development site off Thornhill Road, Steeton, following incidents of criminal damage to the land and the fences.

“It is hoped that the added security measures will help prevent further damage.”