Developers are being accused of vandalising a conservation area by fencing off an area of “vital” green space.

Bramhope Parish Council is fighting to have the “blot on the landscape” removed amid outrage in the village.

Councillors say people are horrified by unsightly fencing on land beside Leeds Road at the Wynmore Avenue end of the Jubilee Copse ribbon park.

But development company, Bramhope Assets Limited, which has an option on the land, has hit back at the criticism.

The company, which wants to build a small residential development on the site, claims to have acted to protect the privately-owned land from unauthorised use and criminal damage.

In 2011 Leeds City Council designated a footpath running through the private land as a public right of way. An appeal has been made against the decision and an inquiry will be held in April.

The Chairman of Bramhope Parish Council, Councillor Denis Johnson, said: “I completely understand the anger of residents at this eyesore.

“Jubilee Copse is a much-used amenity. In recent years Bramhope Parish Council has put considerable effort into maintaining and enhancing the park, taking advice from the Woodland Trust and planting new trees.

“Heavy use means that we also plan to surface the public footpath but this has been delayed pending the outcome of the appeal.

“The privately-owned land is a natural part of the park and the Parish Council has tried a number of times to purchase the land but without success.”

He added: “The parish council has already raised with Leeds City Council our concerns over the height of the fence and the road safety implications, and will continue to press for the removal of this blot on the landscape.”

Matthew Brooke, from Bramhope Assets Limited, said: “We have erected fencing to protect the privately owned land at Leeds Road, Bramhope from unauthorised use and criminal damage.”

He accepted that the form of fencing was “unsympathetic” to the character of the village but said it was more robust than an earlier fence which was damaged last year.

He added: “The suggestion that the land is part of the Jubilee Copse, or is a ‘Mini Park’ as is claimed is misguided.

“It has been privately owned land since 1928 and was used by the people of Bramhope with the permission of the owners until early last year when this informal agreement was rescinded.

“Its continued unauthorised use despite clear requests to the contrary is not accepted, and the fencing will remain in place until replaced by an appropriate long term solution as part of the development of this site.”

He said a planning application for a small scale exclusive residential development on the site would be submitted shortly.”