A university has been accused of acting out of spite for banning people from using a field it wanted to build on.
Wrexham councillors rejected Glyndwr University's plan to put 74 houses on a sports field in Rhosnesni over traffic fears and loss of open space.
The university wants to sell it to fund a £60m revamp of its main campus.
College bosses have sparked anger locally by padlocking the main gate, saying they want to cut the cost of maintaining a site they no longer need.
New signs warn people against trespassing, saying permission to use the land has been withdrawn.
Rhosnesni councillor Mike Davies, who had opposed the housing proposals, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the land had been used by residents for decades.
He said: "On the day when planning permission was rejected [last month], someone from the university was heard to say, 'we'll see how they like it when we turf them off the pitch'.
"It sounds like a spiteful move and now they're actually doing it."
James Cleverley, who lives nearby, said he was "disappointed" after taking his dogs there for years without any issues.
"It seems like a highly petty act given their recent planning failure," he said.
Glyndwr University has defended its actions and said it had the right to remove permission to use the land at any time.
A spokesman said: "As we no longer require the land for educational purposes, the decision has been made to cut back on the grounds maintenance contract and reduce overheads.
"Therefore, as of today [Monday], new signage has been erected withdrawing the permission for public access to the site."
The university has yet to file an appeal against the refusal of planning permission, but officials said it would continue to explore its options for the field.
Officials added that they would continue to work with the council and Borras Park Albion FC to provide a playing field at the site.