Plans were submitted to Northumberland County Council requesting outline permission to build the homes on a plot in Boulmer, currently containing just one bungalow.
The plans, which did not contain specific details of the houses to be built, were recommended for approval by council planners.
It would have seen an exisiting cottage on Beach View demolished and four new houses built on the site and in the surrounding large garden.
But councillors on the North Northumberland Local Area Committee chose to refuse the application at a meeting on Thursday. Although councillors were concerned about the new houses being purchased as second homes, there was no reason to refuse the application under the recently adopted Northumberland Local Plan.
This was because the parish of Longhoughton, which contains Boulmer, does not have more than 50% of homes currently used as second homes or holiday lets.
Cllr Guy Renner Thompson said: “It is a bit of an anomaly because we have one part of the parish without a second homes problem and another, Boulmer, with a big one.
“It would be good to look at what we can do about that in the future.”
Cllr Wendy Pattison proposed members refuse the application on the grounds of the visual impact on Boulmer and the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
She said: “Boulmer is the most attractive fishing village in Northumberland, even more than Craster I sometimes feel. It does have an ageing population and so had we known these were going to be proper residential homes I would have probably been approving of it to get some new residents into Boulmer.
“I just feel this plot, it is not right to put four houses in. Also, on behalf of the neighbours, I would like to see the visible impact on the neighbouring properties.”
But Cllr Jeff Watson said: “I don’t know how we can refuse this on a visual impact when we don’t know what it’s going to look like. The AONB have not put in any objection. We need to see what they’re going to develop.”
The development was refused by six votes to four.