Residents fighting plans to build two large houses on green land in Tring have convinced the town council to change their minds and recommend it for refusal.
More than 300 residents have formally objected to the scheme, which would see two five-bedroom homes built on land at Miswell Park, at the end of Okeford Drive.
Land to the west would transfer to Dacorum Borough Council as part of the deal.
The application, from Maple Leaf Real Estate Ltd and Rivergate Homes Ltd, comes after a scheme for eight homes was refused last year.
Although members of the public and the town council have referred to the land as public open space, the developers insist it is private land.
Tring Town Council had originally offered no objections, but has changed its mind and recommended the proposal for refusal unanimously – although the final decision will be taken by Dacorum Borough Council.
Amy Overy, whose children use the land to play, told the Gazette: “It was a great victory in winning the town council over, but it’s still not over yet.
“We hope to convince decision makers that this is an important bit of land that should be protected at all costs.”
Michael Curry, clerk to the town council, said: “Whilst sympathetic to the principle of conceding a portion of the park to secure the future of the balance of the land, Councillors felt that the land’s designation as public open space should be respected.”
But Scott Lord, Maple Leaf Real Estate’s agent said: “It is private land and anybody who enters it is technically trespassing.
“The landowner’s perceived tolerance of these incursions over the years should not now be used against them.
“We hope everyone will see this as an opportunity to secure the future of this land for the benefit of all residents.”