Cheshire West & Chester Council has refused planning permission for the University of Chester to build a 203-bedroom accommodation block within its main campus.
The planning committee voted against a flat-roofed, part four storey, part five storey building, containing refuse storage, secure cycle parking, sports changing facilities, a student common room and a general university reception area on the main campus on Parkgate Road.
The proposed design of the building by architects Broadway Malyan was raised as an issue of objection by local residents, the Chester Civic Trust and the council's spatial planning department.
The planning application was refused by nine votes to one on the grounds that it was contrary to the Chester district local plan by virtue of the design's scale and massing and did not respect the surrounding area and would not make a positive contribution to the area.
Tim Wheeler, vice-chancellor of the University of Chester, said: "The University regrets that its proposal for new student accommodation to house 203 students on its main campus was refused by the planning committee. It is disappointing.
"The building was a very carefully considered scheme, with regard to student demand and expectations, the aesthetics of its design and its location. It received extensive support from the local community at the University's public consultation events. The University is reviewing the situation."
Cllr Lynda Jones, from Cheshire West & Chester Council, who was not against the proposal but the design of the building, said: "I personally don't like the building at all. To me it represents and looks like a car park and whether it is in keeping with the other buildings around, I personally don't think this is."
However, Cllr David Armstrong, from Cheshire West & Chester, was in favour of the plans. Armstrong said: "It would seem to me the University of Chester is trying to take on board 203 students onto its own site and provide suitable accommodation for them.
"I will support this site because I think it's a good idea for students to have on site accommodation and also be very positive about the site."
The University of Chester said construction work would have started during the summer this year if plans were approved, with an aim of completing the project in time for the beginning of the 2012/13 academic year.