A judicial review is being sought over a decision which could see 69-year-old planning consent used to build new houses in a small village.
Plans were originally passed to build 10 semi-detached houses in Walcot, in Lincolnshire, in 1951.
But only four were built and the council-owned land has been used as allotments and for other purposes since, resident David Plummer said.
A North Kesteven council report found the original consent was extant.
An application for a Lawful Development Certificate has been approved by the council, meaning the land could, in principle, now be used for new homes.
But Mr Plummer, who lives nearby and rents a plot on the land, said he was angry how "this rubber stamping exercise" had been allowed.
"They've done it in a way where they haven't had to go through the normal planning process," he said.
The council previously applied for planning permission on the land in 1982, and failed, which makes the current ruling more frustrating, Mr Plummer said.
However, in a report a case officer said that application came after a merger between North Kesteven and the now defunct East Kesteven Rural District Council, and officials might not have been aware of the original permission.
The report said the case file no longer existed to clarify why permission was refused, but said it did not materially impact upon "this application".
Mr Plummer is now seeking to take the council to judicial review on the grounds the original application was abandoned and the land has seen a change of use.
His solicitor, Richard Buxton, said the council refused itself planning consent "having gone through the right channels in 1982".
"The reliance on the 1951 permission seems something of a last gasp," he added.
A full planning application would have to be submitted before any houses are built.
North Kesteven District Council said it would "fully participate fully in the legal process".