Families in Trowbridge are fuming after a planning application was submitted to build on former tennis courts used as a playground by children for many years.

The circle, as it is referred to by residents, is regularly used by children in Clarendon Road, as well as those in nearby Green Lane and Paxcroft Way, and residents have joined forces to object to the proposals for two four-bedroom detached homes.

A previous planning application was submitted for two homes in 2000, but was refused by Wiltshire Council’s planning committee to prevent the loss of an important piece of amenity and recreation land.

The land, last used as tennis courts in the 1940s, was designated as recreational space in the adopted Local Plan, but that was then replaced by policies in the Leisure and Recreation Development Plan Document in 2009. The latest application is by Ashford Homes South West, which has bought the land.

Resident Paul Adams said: “It was a protected piece of land after the last application, but the planning laws have changed which means it is exposed to the threat of planning proposals.

“It is a lovely piece of green space that is used every day by children and it is a community space that people feel very strongly about.

We are now trying to get as many objections in as possible before the closing date on Tuesday.”

The planning design and access statement states that any previous formal recreational use of the site is no longer relevant in terms of claiming recreational protection. It adds that the current value of the application site is only its contribution in terms of visual amenity.

Barbara Pickard, 87, who has lived in the road for 14 years, said: “It’s such a calm area and the children have played on it for years. If they put houses there it will be completely out of keeping with the area.”

Another resident, Lyn Baron, said: “The residents of the road just love this area. It is our little piece of green haven. Over the years we have tried to maintain it as best we could and broke many lawn mowers in the process.

“It is not a huge space, but it is important to us.”

Trowbridge Town Council recently objected to the proposals, which include a below ground attenuation tank, as it would be a “clear loss of a longstanding recreation and amenity area”.

Ashford Homes South West says it will not comment until after a decision has been made.