CONTROVERSIAL plans for new homes on a historic Sheffield site - which received hundreds of objections - have been refused.
Sheffield Council turned down the proposals for a 24-property development on Wincobank Hill, off Sandstone Road, yesterday despite a recommendation for approval.
The decision was made on the basis of protecting the historic nature of the site, which lies 200 metres south of the Iron Age Wincobank hill fort.
Residents say it is likely to contain prehistoric archaeological treasures which could be destroyed by the building work.
Bridget Ingle, of the Love Wincobank Campaign, said an 1,100-strong online petition signed by people across the world had been handed in at the meeting to boost more than 400 objections.
She said: “We are all very pleased because everything was against us having a victory, however it is one step at a time.
“The councillors rejected it on archaeological grounds but we are not resting on our laurels because the developer will appeal the decision and we’ll have to fight it again.”
The site is used by Wincobank families and concerns about the loss of open space for local people were also behind the decision.
Campaigners think the site is on the line of the Roman Ridge, a 10-mile linear earthwork thought to be have been built as a defensive structure between Sheffield and Kimberworth, Rotherham.
Investates Development proposed the three-bedroom homes, which were also opposed by the Friends of Wincobank Hill, Sandstone Road Residents’ Forum, the Hunter Archaeological Society and the Sheffield Ramblers.
Dr Roger Doonan, head of archaeology at the University of Sheffield, spoke at the planning meeting.
He said: “The chairman said it was the most difficult one he had been to in his planning career.
“I think this was the only right decision to be made really.
“This is a really important area, it was the northernmost extent of the Roman empire at one point.
“No other city in Britain I know has an iron age hill fort standing in the middle of it.”
It is hoped the site could be used as a community resource, like in heritage trails attracting visitors in the future.
Dr Doonan added: “It is a resource we should recognise.”