COUNCILLORS are preparing themselves for another battle against a developer keen to build dozens of homes on a coveted piece of land.

Henry Homes PLC have submitted a second set of controversial plans to build 29 dwellings on a disused railway line, behind Wycombe Lane in Wooburn Green.

Similar plans for 33 homes were turned down by Wycombe District Council (WDC) in November 2006.

Henry Homes appealed against this decision, but the planning inspectorate dismissed their appeal and agreed with members that planning permission should not be given.

Since then they have re-applied to WDC to build 29 homes, made up of flats, detached and semi-detached houses, on the 0.77 hectare site.

The council, however did not make a decision about the new plans within its target of 13 weeks - as it was still in negotiations with the developer - so Henry Homes have now lodged a second appeal to get them passed.

But tonight, members of WDC's development control committee decided to defend their original position and reject the latest proposal.

The High Wycombe Society and Chiltern Society along with dozens of residents are also against the plans, and are particularly concerned about the loss of the disused Bourne End to High Wycombe railway line.

WDC is keen to safeguard part of the line so it can be turned into a footpath, cycleway or other form of public transport development.

Chris Steuart, a WDC officer, outlined the latest plans to members.

He said: "In terms of the approach we're taking we're recommending that you do defend the appeal, and we should defend the appeal for several reasons."

But Mr Steuart also warned members to take note of a letter from Henry Homes, sent to the council in May this year, after discussions of the latest plans were deferred from an earlier development meeting.

The letter stated: "(It is) unreasonable for the council to re-argue issues that were raised at the previous appeal simply because they failed to properly adduce evidence, or were unhappy with the outcome."

The letter also said that if WDC intended to "act unreasonably" it would apply for an award of costs at the appeal stage.

But councillors agreed to battle Henry Homes at a second appeal, and outlined a new set of reasons for refusal, which included the lack of provision for affordable housing and loss of the railway line.

These will be considered by the inspector at the next appeal.