Plans to build 59 homes, along with public open space, on the former site of Wortley High School in Swallow Crescent went before members of the council’s south and west plans panel.
But panel members complained that the plans, for mainly redbrick housing, were boring, and that more work needed on them.
Coun Colin Campbell (Lib Dem) said: “As far as the principle of development is concerned, what else [apart from housing] could you use the site for, other than putting another school on it?
“But we have a preponderance of red brick. I do wish developers would do a bit more.
“In five years time, you are going to look at this and think ‘this is boring’. We need to do better than these, they are just not good enough.”
Applicants Keepmoat Homes submitted plans for five two-bedroom, 42 three-bedroom and 12 four-bedroom houses on the site.
The plans state the properties would be between two and three storeys in height, constructed of brick and could include canopies above the front doors.
Eight of the units would be affordable homes.
Responding to Coun Campbell, Coun Caroline Gruen (Lab), who was chairing the meeting, said: “I agree with you. Elected members will soon become more involved with design. We need to work with developers to make sure they can improve on the quality of the design.
“We have a long long way to go with design in general.”
Fellow panel member Coun Sharon Hamilton (Lab) said she felt the site also needed an extra affordable home.
A total of 22 letters of objection were submitted by members of the public, some of which referred to the fact very few houses on nearby Swallow Crescent had any off-street parking.
Others complained of the increased traffic such a development would bring to the area.
A decision on the site was deferred for a future meeting.