A DELUGE of protest has greeted the building of new flood defences on the banks of Silsden Beck.

Residents claim that girders forming part of the barrier are an eyesore in one of the village’s most picturesque locations.

Town councillors have hit back by saying the barrier by the ford in Kirkgate – still under construction – is essential in keeping residents safe.

They say the finished barrier will be in keeping with surrounding buildings because the metal will eventually be covered by wood, plants and a new wall.

The protests are being led by Val Carroll, of North Street, Silsden, who described the girders as an “abominable structure”.

She said: “This is one of Silsden's most attractive and much-photographed sites.This is now ruined."

Coun Andrew Mallinson, who represents Silsden on Bradford Council, said many residents had expressed concern about the look of the structure.

Town councillor Mick O’Dwyer, who is spearheading the work with Silsden Environmental Group, defended the project.

The barrier aims to stop water breaching the beck-side in heavy rain and flooding houses in adjacent St John Street.

Building materials have been funded by Keighley Area Committee and Silsden Town Council, and construction work is being carried out by Coun O’Dwyer and fellow volunteers.

He said: “We’re doing this for nothing. We’ve got lots of people shouting their mouths off about it, but if we’d paid contractors people would have shouted more.”

Coun O’ Dwyer, now in his 70s, said: “I’ve lived here all my life and I know what it’s like when it floods.

“People who live near the beck are all for the gates because it’s going to keep their properties dry.”