A homeowner’s plans to take part of a grass verge into their own garden has been criticised by neighbours and the parish council.

The owners of a house in Harvest Hill, Bourne End, want to turn the existing grass highway verge close to their property into a residential wildlife garden.

They argue that the verge “serves little purpose” and by allowing them to take it into their garden, they would be improving it.

Back in 2018, Wycombe District Council gave the homeowners’ permission to take the verge, except for 2.4 metres from the edge of the road so that visibility is not affected - but now a ‘stopping up’ order needs to be approved by the Department for Transport.

Once a stopping up order is made, the land ceases to be a public highway and therefore development can be carried out in accordance with valid planning permission.

The homeowners say that “no harm” would come from them taking the land – but neighbours on the road disagree.

Speaking at the last Wooburn and Bourne End Parish Council planning highways and lighting committee on April 21, Juliet Durdle, from the Hawks Hill and Widmoor Residents Group, said they believe it is not appropriate for anyone to take public land into their garden.

She said: “We believe anyone taking green space into their garden is not appropriate. We have spoken to the owners and we feel it shouldn’t go ahead.

“We have told him how we feel about this – we have asked if there is a way we can compromise. We want him to take a little bit less – but an ideal situation would be if he didn’t take any of it at all.

“Any time we see this sort of thing happening, we have to stand up to it. I don’t think it’s an appropriate thing for someone to be doing – taking public land into their garden just because they can. We firmly believe this land is there for the community and not just one individual.”

Cllr Tim Bingham said it was an “appropriation of land” and Wooburn and Bourne End Parish Council urged the Department for Transport to reject the ‘stopping up’ application.

In their letter of objection, they said: “The land in question is part of a highways verge which is an important habitat and refuge for wildlife crossing Harvest Hill road.

“The green space is important to the visual character of the area. This should be construed as land appropriation by the owner of the adjacent property and should be rejected.”