Initial plans for up to 150 homes on a former reserve site have been given the green light.

The controversial proposals for Slate Meadow, in Bourne End, were agreed by the majority of councillors at Wycombe District Council’s (WDC) planning committee meeting this week.

Slate Meadow was one of five reserve sites along with Abbey Barn South, Abbey Barn North, Terriers Farm and Gomm Valley and Ashwells to be released for development in a controversial move by WDC in October 2014.

Campaigners have fought for years to protect the green space from development.

Speaking at the meeting, Jim Penfold, chairman of the Bourne End Residents’ Association and member of the Slate Meadow Liaison Group, pleaded with councillors to reject the outline proposals and ask developers to submit full plans to “fairly decide the future of Slate Meadow”.

He said: “During the numerous meetings and consultations that have been held over nearly four years, several important issues have been raised.

“Problems regarding infrastructure have been highlighted by the liaison group.

“We do understand that you as a council have to deal with any application even if it is only outline. But here is the problem as we see it – the developers may well have solutions but the public and indeed everyone on this council needs to see and have the chance to scrutinise and comment on all these issues.

“Yet, at the moment, if outline permission is approved, important decisions will be made by officers alone.”

Speaking on behalf of the developers, Avant Homes and Croudace Homes, Julian Black said the report before the planning committee was a “fair” and “thorough” appraisal of the planning merits of the Slate Meadow proposals.

He said: “The development of Slate Meadow is not a new matter. It is one of five sites removed from the Green Belt in 1989.

“It has been a reserve site for some 28 to 29 years.

“We have worked very closely with the Slate Meadow Liaison Group. Admittedly we didn’t always see eye-to-eye on a number of the key points but I genuinely feel that it was a positive process and I think frankly the scheme is all the better for the input from the group and the input that came from the public consultation exercises.”

Cllr Hugh McCarthy branded the decision “difficult”, saying when the reserve sites were released the local authority was under a “huge” amount of pressure to meet its five-year housing plan.

He said: “It could have been an awful lot worse. It’s fortunate that we had that level of engagement.

“The plan has also gone that extra mile to try and create an environment to respect the green structure. It’s a very special location.”

It was approved by the majority of councillors subject to a number of conditions.