Plans to build houses on a patch of land with protected poplar trees close to Central Sussex College have been refused.
Councillors agreed that an application for 10 homes at the site on Northgate Avenue should not be granted permission at a meeting of the Development Control committee on March 25.
Councillors said the area, which is a protected urban green space, performed a structural landscaping role, separating the town centre from residential properties in Three Bridges.
In addition, it has 12 poplar trees planted down the centre which are protected by a tree preservation order (TPO).
The application claimed the trees had come to the end of their useful life and proposed felling them and planting 27 replacements.
But the council ruled the poplars still had more than 40 years’ life left in them and should remain.
It was also agreed the apartment block would result in a lack of privacy for properties in Friars Rookery, the site would be overdeveloped and cramped, and it would affect the character and amenity of the area.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Bob Burgess (Con, Three Bridges) said he accepted the town was in need of housing but said the patch of land was the wrong place to build.
He added: “The land is a sort of buffer between Three Bridges and the town centre.
“The access on to the site is via Northgate Avenue which is a very busy road.
“This development would be detrimental to the existing environment and local residents and it is not in keeping with any of the buildings in Friars Rookery. ”
Trevor Tilley, from RDjW Architects Limited, who represented the applicant said: “We are proposing much-needed residential accommodation next to the town centre in a sustainable location.”
The council received 15 responses to the plans and a petition with 51 signatures opposing the development.
Residents raised concerns about losing the land’s habitat value, warned that access on to Northgate Avenue would be unsafe, said there would be insufficient parking, a flood risk, and that waste bins would be sited behind the back gardens in Friars Rookery, attracting pests and unpleasant odours.
The committee decided to refuse the application.