A 2,000-home development proposed by Redrow for farmland near Little Sutton near Ellesmere Port was rejected by Cheshire West & Chester Council's strategic planning committee against officers' recommendation.
Councillors on the planning committee instructed officers to bring back to the next meeting "robust" detailed wording for the grounds for refusal and the concerns they had identified in their debate.
The plan by Redrow Homes included a new primary school, shop and community building with parks, tree-lined roads and cycle ways.
A smaller proposal by Redrow for 145 homes on part of the site which had previously been allocated for housing was approved by the committee.
The committee took into account 400 letters of objection and opposition from the Ledsham & Manor Action Group, petitions with 3,244 names as well as Capenhurst & Ledsham Parish Council, Puddington & District Parish Council and a number of wildlife and environmental organisations.
The meeting at Ellesmere Port Civic Hall, with more than 200 members of the public attending, considered a 160-page report from officers which detailed objections to the application for the garden neighbourhood homes on 105 hectares of land at Sutton New Hall Farm, Ledsham Road.
Some of the objections to the plan were against the use of high grade arable farmland in principle, but others warned of serious traffic issues, the proximity to Urenco, pressure on doctors and schools, and damage to wildlife and the environment.
The report to committee members pointed out that the majority of the site was land that had previously been "safeguarded" in case it was needed for development.
Officers had recommended approval with a list of more than 100 conditions and requests for contributions from Redrow of around £4.4m towards the new school, £2.5m to subsidise improved bus services for five years, £355,000 for improvements to the Little Sutton shopping area, and around £250,000 for additional traffic management and highway improvements and £518,000 towards the cost of building additional health facilities in the area.
Graham Phipp, co-chairman of the Ledsham & Manor Action Group, described it as a "vast and disproportionate plan" which would destroy a semi rural environment. He warned that local roads would be unable to cope with the extra traffic and that the work phased over many years would create a dusty and noisy environment for residents.
Jacqueline Mulliner, on behalf of Redrow, said that all the points of objection had been considered during lengthy consultations. The proposal was to create the UK's first garden neighbourhood village of the 21st century and would bring many benefits to the Ellesmere Port area.
Cllr Gareth Anderson, speaking as the ward councillor, not a member of the committee, said that even under the higher, out-of-date figures, over 90% of the area's housing need allocation could be met on brownfield sites and 100% on existing allocated sites.
He warned that giving approval to the Redrow plan would make it impossible to develop brownfield sites in Ellesmere Port for housing.
Cllr Anderson said: "I want to stress that this is not remotely about nimbyism. This ward that I represent has had about 30% growth over the last several years and we are used to it. This site is unique, it is exceptional, it is different. This isn't just a planning application for some houses, it isn't just a planning application for just 2,000 houses, it is an application for an entirely new neighbourhood in Ellesmere Port.
"This development is not sustainable so the argument that there is a presumption in favour should be absolutely rejected. This won't bring any regeneration to our town centre.
"Building over a farm that's such high quality goes against the National Planning Policy Framework it goes against local plan policy GEN 13. It goes against everything we have said and it has almost total opposition from the people of this town and this area."
The committee will be provided with the detailed wording spelling out its decision at its meeting on 11 July.