PLANS which would have “threatened” a city nature reserve and set a precedent for more green field site development have been refused.

Nature lovers in Headington launched a protest in May after an application to build four four-bedroom homes on green land at Town Furze Road.

The area is next to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Friends of Lye Valley Group, who help conserve the area, argued it would set a dangerous precedent if planners were given the go ahead.

In its determination Oxford City Council said that the application was “not essential” and there were no mitigating circumstances to build on the green field site.

Head of planning and regulatory services at the council Patsy Dell said: "The development would have a significant adverse effect upon the Lye Valley SSSI.

"Due to insufficient mitigation it may damage or destroy the interest feature for which the Lye Valley has been notified.

"It is also considered that the proposed development would result in an unacceptably adverse impact on the character and appearance of the surrounding landscape which is located within the Lye Valley SSSI."

The council also said there was not enough affordable housing provision and concerns over the excavation of root systems present there and adequate water drainage.

The Friends of Lye Valley Group previously fought the application which attracted some 100 letters of objection from residents.

At the time spokeswoman Antonia King warned it would set a "dangerous precedent" on people "selling their gardens for building."