Sheffield Council has accepted a bid for the first tranche of nearly eight hectares of former farmland it is selling in Owlthorpe, Mosborough.
More than 900 people signed a petition opposing new homes on the land at Moorthorpe Way, known by locals as Owlthorpe Fields, after The Star highlighted the plans last year.
A council spokesman said this week that it was looking to exchange contracts shortly with the preferred bidder for the first plot, which is the largest of three being sold.
Once the sale has been completed, the terms of the deal state that the buyer is expected to gain planning permission within six months, 'subject to the usual extensions'.
That means an application is likely to be imminent, with the buyer having already held talks with council planners.
The council said it had received 14 bids for the 3.35 hectare plot known as Site E, predominantly from what it described as 'volume house builders', with the opportunity generating a 'lot of interest'.
A further 15 'expressions of interest' were received for the remaining plots C and D, together measuring 4.5 hectares, though a buyer for those sites has yet to be chosen.
The council has not said how many new homes are expected but planning guidelines recommend 40-60 homes per hectare, meaning up to 201 could be built on the first tranche of land and 471 could go up across all three sections.
The vacant plot, which lies close to the Donetsk Way Supertram stop and surrounds Owlthorpe Surgery, has been earmarked for new homes since the 60s.
But opponents say infrastructure which was promised at the time for those new homes - most notably the completion of the Moorthorpe Way loop road, providing access from Sheffield Road – has not been delivered.
The council says the completion of the loop road is not deemed 'essential' to serve the planned new homes, but critics say roads in the area are already congested and this will make things worse.
Owlthorpe Fields Action Group, which is fighting the planned development, claims the land is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bats and rare species of birds.
Shirley Clayton, one of the group's committee members, said: "We know we need more houses but there are plenty of brownfield sites where they could be built.
"It's sacrilege to decimate this green space which is so well used by people, including dog walkers, walking groups and young people playing sports.
"When you consider all the wildlife living there, the thought of all these homes being built is pretty horrendous."
The council has not named the buyer or the amount being paid for the first plot as it says this is commercially sensitive information.