An appeal has been lodged by Liverpool John Lennon Airport after Halton Council refused permission for a massive solar farm near Hale Village.

The council’s development management committee previously rejected an application for a lawful development certificate to create a huge site consisting of 5,616 solar panels rising to heights of 2.7m.

The airport wanted to build the farm on 13 acres of land to the eastern end of the runway, on a site bounded by Dungeon Lane, Hale Road and Baileys Lane. But the plans met fierce opposition from some local campaigners, with one Hale Parish Councillor claiming the scheme would 'sterilise' green space, impact the open countryside and restrict views.

In its application submitted last January, the airport said the scheme was a cornerstone of its future sustainability plans as it aimed to draw a quarter of its energy from renewable sources by 2040.

But the plans were rejected last June by Halton Council which said the airport ‘did not provide sufficient evidence’ to demonstrate the site for solar farm formed part of its operational land at the time of its original application.

Now an appeal has been lodged with the government’s planning inspectorate by the airport's parent company Liverpool Airport Limited, with an independent government inspector now  set to rule whether or not the scheme can go ahead.

Halton Council has written to local residents confirming that the appeal has been lodged, and that it would be decided based on the strength of written representations both for and against. The independent inspector has the power to override the council's original refusal.

These most recent proposals follow a previous application for a solar farm on the site in 2019, which was withdrawn before a decision on planning permission was made.

But since that application, the airport has since extended its runway safety area, which means it only now needs to be granted permitted development rights - rather than be given full planning permission.

No date has yet to been set for a decision.

The case can be viewed on the planning inspectorate’s website under the reference number: 3313760.