The health trust which wants to build a student village on a meadow site is appealing against councillors' refusal to approve the scheme.

A scheme to develop the land next to Warneford Hospital, in Headington, Oxford, is bitterly opposed by locals.

And the health trust was last month told to return to the drawing board with its plans to build on Warneford Meadow, Warneford Hospital playing field and land at the Park Hospital.

But with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust hoping to raise millions from the development, it has lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.

Trust chief executive Julie Waldron said an appeal over the decision not to grant outline planning permission was the only way to avoid long delays.

She said: "It's very disappointing to have to take this step. But the council's own papers recommended giving approval for our plans.

"We are at a loss to know why the planning officers didn't maintain this advice on the day of the council's strategic development control committee meeting."

The trust wants to build accommodation for more than 1,000 Oxford Brookes University students, healthcare and key workers. The development would also include offices and research buildings.

Councillors were unhappy that five separate applications were submitted. They were asked to approve the scheme in principle, with details to be finalised later.

The Friends of Warneford Meadow said the development would destroy 20 acres of open meadow within the city, widely used by the local community, and worsen Headington's traffic congestion. They are now seeking to have the meadow registered as a town green.

Floris van den Broecke, from the Friends, said: "This action by the trust shows their contempt for the community with no regard to strong local and wider opinion.

"The city council clearly sent the trust back to the drawing board. But the trust insists on throwing good taxpayers' money after bad.

"The applicants have already received special treatment from the planners."