An appeal against Thurrock Council's decision to refuse plans for 4 new homes on a well-used sports pitch and children's play area has been thrown out.
Outline planning permission for the houses to be built on land in Gunning Road, Grays, was refused by the council's planning committee in November.
The site is well used by residents as a recreational open space and the committee decided the loss of the open space was unacceptable.
An appeal was lodged by the applicant, Gunning Road Thurrock Ltd, to the Planning Inspectorate and has now been refused.
The inspector deemed the proposed development would conflict with national guidance outlining the importance of access to open spaces for the health and well-being of communities, and decided the benefits did not outweigh the adverse impact it would cause.
Leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill said: "This open space is well valued by the local community and would be a big loss to residents.
"That formed a central part of the decision to refuse the application and I am very pleased the Planning Inspectorate has supported local residents' objections and the planning committee's position by dismissing the appeal.
"We will continue to determine all planning applications on their own merits and in line with planning policies to ensure future development in Thurrock protects and enhances our existing communities."