The applicant behind a £1 billion data centre proposal has appealed the district council's decision to block it.

On January 18, Three Rivers' planning committee unanimously refused permission for the hyperscale project in a field alongside Bedmond Road and the M25 in Abbots Langley.

An appeal against this was lodged with the planning inspectorate at the end of June and it has now been confirmed that the inspector appointed to decide it will open the inquiry on October 8. The process will then run for six sitting days.

Any representations must be sent in by July 30.

Three reasons had been given for refusal, perhaps the most important was the site falling within green belt without being judged to meet the “very special circumstances” required to develop there.

It would also fail to protect the natural environment due to its size, the report added, as well as "result in significant demonstrable harm to the character and appearance of the area and the natural environment".

A CGI showing how the building would look.A CGI showing how the buildings would look. (Image: Pegasus Group/Greystoke Land/Three Rivers District Council)

The proposal would span the area of 12 football pitches and involve an investment of around £1billion, according to the plan.

Labour's manifesto directly mentioned the facilities, which store and process huge amounts of data, stating that the government will ensure its industrial strategy “removes planning barriers to data centres”.

The appellant, Greystoke Land, has said that “the UK needs large data centres to support economic growth and digital leadership”.

How the proposed Abbots Langley data centre could look from above.How the proposed Abbots Langley data centre could look from above. (Image: Pegasus Group/Greystoke Land/Three Rivers District Council)

In the case statement, it claimed this need is “overwhelming”, “urgent”, and “of national importance”, adding that the proposal would make “an important contribution towards meeting that need”.

It accepts the plan would obviously damage the openness of the green belt but highlights that the site is right next to the M25 and argues that overall the positives “clearly” outweigh the harm.

Greystoke added: “The appellant will conclude that the ‘very special circumstances’ test is passed in this case, there would be compliance with the development plan when read as a whole, and it follows that the proposals would represent sustainable development.”