Plans to demolish two derelict cottages in Castle Acre and build four new homes in their place have been blocked.
Parish councillors had supported the plan for the Rose Cottage site on Massingham Road, arguing that it met planning policy guidelines and would be in keeping with a grade two listed stone bar opposite the site.
But English Heritage argued the loss of the cottages would damage the area.
West Norfolk Council’s planning committee refused the application, submitted by Grange Developments, during a meeting in Lynn on Monday.
The decision followed officers’ recommendation, which said the scheme’s benefits did not outweigh the harm identified.
They also reported the application had failed to consider the impact on protected bat species in the area or make a provision for affordable housing.