Exeter City Council is having to find £50,000 to cover its costs for the public inquiry into the status of Eastern Fields.
Residents have applied to Devon County Council for the fields, bounded by the railway line, Exeter Arena, Beacon Lane and Pin Brook is owned by the city council, to be designated as a village green.
However the city council has objected to the designation as part of the area has been earmarked for a new link road joining Pinhoe Road and Harrington lane which it says is essential.
The city council believes registration of the site as village green would effectively prevent long term proposals for development of council land and pose serious difficulties for delivery of an important link road.
As the highways authority the county council which would be building the link road, has had to refer the matter to the planning inspectorate.
The city council has been taking advice from a specialist barrister.
The advice has to date been funded by the Homes and Communities Agency through a local infrastructure fund.
However this source of funding is now exhausted and officers are to ask the city's executive on Tuesday December 4 for £50,000 to continue to pay the barrister's fees.
The public inquiry is due to begin in March next year.