Controversial plans to build three houses in a village woodland that neighbours feared would “destroy” it have been rejected.

Developers have been trying to build three three-bed detached houses in the woodland in Fieldhead Gardens in Bourne End.

They claimed that the woodland has been “severely neglected for many years” and that their plans to build a “sympathetic” development of homes would “ensure the future of the woodland and its trees”.

The latest plans, which were put forward last year, were submitted after a previous application for three four-bed bungalows in August 2018 was rejected.

Developers appealed that rejection, but planning inspectors dismissed it.

Neighbours who fought the first planning application also raised a string of objections to the latest attempt to build on the woodland.

David Stephenson, who lives in the road, wrote: “Fieldhead Gardens is so named as it enjoys a woodland setting with the green area which is the subjection of this planning application being a key component of this.

“Any construction in this area will result in the destruction of this green area including mature trees.”

Toby Tritschler also raised serious objections, saying it would result in loss of privacy for neighbours, an increase in cars and pollution and cause noise and disturbance.

He added that the woodland provides a home to a variety of wildlife, including bats, barn owls and woodpeckers.

Bob Bradshaw wrote: “Though the applicants have gone to great lengths to produce reports from experts, the real experts on the wood are the residents who live here - some in excess of forty years - and have first-hand experience of the bird, insect and wildlife which call the wood its home.

“Regularly - practically every night - owls can be heard in the wood and bats are always seen at dusk. We have stag beetles crawling around and Muntjacs barking. All this will stop if the wood is developed.

“We would prefer the wood to be properly looked after and not be neglected, making it look as if the only option is development.”

Wooburn Green and Bourne End Parish Council also backed residents in “strongly” objecting to the plans.

Buckinghamshire Council ruled against allowing the developers to build on the woodland site in a decision published on January 15.

They said: “In the opinion of the local planning authority, the proposed development would result in the partial loss and fragmentation of woodland and designated green space.

“Moreover, the development would result in the felling of protected trees.”

The developers can now appeal the decision with the Secretary of State.