SILBELCO has hit back at criticism that it refused to sell land for affordable housing.Last week the Advertiser reported that Teignbridge councillor Joan Lambert accused the clay giant of ignoring the wishes of residents after being denied four acres of land at Higher Sandygate. She said she wanted to buy the plot through the newly-established Land in Hand Trust to build ten affordable homes using money from the Lottery Commission. The remainder would have been used for allotments, with the possibility of more affordable homes being built as more money became available.Sibelco's resources director Gary Stringer now says the first he knew about the land being wanted for affordable housing was when he read it in this newpaper.Last week, Sibelco's development consultant, Arnold White Estates, defended its client's record, pointing to the new Newton Abbot hospital, playing fields and Abbrook sports centre, all made possible thanks to Sibelco.But now Mr Stringer, who dealt directly with Cllr Lambert's request, claims she never mentioned housing. 'At no point did Joan Lambert talk about housing or say we are actively trying to buy for the purpose of housing,' he said.He was willing to help but because allotment land has to be granted in perpetuity, suggested it should be called a horticultural society, with a clause allowing Sibelco repossession rights with 12 months' notice.Cllr Lambert denied trying to disguise the motive for wanting the land. She said she asked to buy three acres of land at arable prices for allotments and one acre for affordable housing. Attached to her email of May 7 was a document headed Kingsteignton Affordable Housing and Allotment Proposal, with details about the Land in Hand Trust, how the houses would be nominated to people on the housing needs register and finance details. Mr Stringer said he had not seen it.Mr Stringer also denied gazumping a resident for the plot of land Cllr Lambert hoped initially to use for the affordable housing scheme.He said: 'I only had authority to go up to £115,000 and put that on the table pretty early.'He said Sibelco was now leasing the land to the unsuccessful bidder, Jerry Bodley-Tickell, whose garden abuts the land.