A £15 million sports complex in Nuthall has been blocked because it would take up a wedge of greenbelt land.
Broxtowe borough councillors were told 250 people would have worked at the centre off the Eastwood bypass near Nuthall.
But by six votes to five, the development control committee followed the advice of officers on Wednesday and rejected the scheme.
They were told the sports village - the first in the world outside France - would reduce open land between the two communities and the outskirts of Nottingham.
The council’s planning officers said the application failed to come up with ‘very special circumstances’ which would allow building in the greenbelt. They also said it relied too much on customers arriving by car.
Awsworth’s Cllr Lydia Ball said:”The greenbelt near the M1 in that area is precious. We can’t really let it go, now or ever.”
Cllr Jill Owen claimed the developers would ‘siphon off’ profitable leisure pursuits and leave the council to provide the more expensive ones like swimming.
She predicted it would not create ‘one extra job’ but would take profits from existing businesses.
“The greenbelt is not for sale, not negotiable. It is for the benefit of the whole community, not for the benefit of a speculative developer,” she said.
Developers Oxylane, who own the Decathlon store at Giltbrook, now have the right to appeal the decision and force a public enquiry in an effort to get the go-ahead for the project.
Company director Luke Fillingham said it would generate £500,000 in business rates annually and told councillors it would be a major investment in the ‘turbulent economic climate’.
He was backed by Cllr Richard Robinson who said it was ‘madness’ not to build on the Olympics legacy.
The plans included a huge Decathlon sports store, netball and tennis courts, provision for football, cycling and indoor workouts, restaurants, and changing facilities.