Tring residents are up in arms over plans to build two 'mansion style' homes on open land next to popular playing fields in the town.
The plans would see the buildings erected on the green space between the recreation ground outside Goldfield Infants School, and the playing field near the pavilion used by Tring Town.
The land is between Okeford Drive and Miswell Lane, while land to the west would transfer to Dacorum Borough Council as part of the application.
The application for the two homes has been submitted by Maple Leaf Real Estate Ltd and Rivergate Homes Ltd, and comes after a scheme for eight homes on the site was refused last year.
More than 270 residents have lodged objections against the plans.
Amy Overy is among them. She said: “Tring has a deficit of green open space – much less per 1,000 people than Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead.
"With the proposed LA5 scheme scheduled for the west of Tring where this park lies, it is even more important that this space is protected and not built on.
"This is the new scheme to build two enormous mansion style houses on a large portion of the land, with detached garages and huge gardens. These would not only be completely out of keeping with the local area, but shouldn’t be built at all.
"This is a well used and well loved important piece of green space, and it would be a tragedy if the town were to lose it."
Amy's nine-year-old son also wrote an unprompted letter, begging the council to "keep it the way it is."
Maria Sturges attended the recent Tring Town Council meeting, where the authority raised no objections. Due to a minor change to the application however, the council will be discussing the issue again on June 12.
Maria said: "Sadly the Council has not objected to the planning proposal on the grounds that the developers will be giving the rest of the land they own to Dacorum Borough Council."
The application has also been criticised by two parliamentary candidates for South West Hertfordshire.
Christopher Townsend, standing for the Liberal Democrats, is also a Tring town councillor. He said: "I hope the Town Council changes its mind at the next meeting.
"My children, and many of the children of Goldfield School and Bishop Wood parents, love playing in this field just as it is. Why can't the Town Council make a point of standing by the Local Plan, rather than doing a deal with the developer?"
Mark Anderson, the UKIP candidate for the constituency, added: "The Miswell Park development, that’s just two large houses - it’s not for young people. These developments are not needed."
In a planning statement however, the applicants defended their scheme, saying: “In reality, the land has been privately owned for decades, there is no authorised public access to it.
"In planning terms it could be said to have a ‘nil’ use – it has no function as such beyond it simply being open/not built upon.
"It effectively drives a wedge of unused land between the two well-used recreational pieces of land to the north and south.
"The only sensible means of liberating the land and to allow it to make a meaningful contribution to the town’s recreational assets is via some modest enabling development with sufficient incentive to allow the site owners to be willing to transfer the balance of the land over to the Council.
"While there remains some dissent among some local residents there is also recognition of the much reduced scale of the development and the consequent enlargement of land to be handed over to public ownership.”
Residents who have objected to the scheme have planned a ‘public gathering’ on the land on Tuesday (June 6) at 4pm.