The local authority’s planning committee blocked Keydell’s plan to relocate its business from Horndean to Mays Coppice Farm in Rowlands Castle in September, despite planning officers recommending that the scheme should be approved.
The committee justified its rejection of planning permission by claiming the proposed new garden centre "by virtue of its siting, scale and creation of a new access point and widening of the rural road, would have a detrimental visual impact upon the wider open landscape and countryside setting."
But Keydell has now lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate, the national body that handles planning appeals, regarding the decision. The inspectorate will now hold a public inquiry.
Keydell’s proposals for the Mays Coppice Farm site include two buildings linked by a covered "plant display" area, as well as a glass house and a car park with 250 spaces, and an additional overflow car park with 150 spaces.
A spokesman for Keydell Nurseries said no date had been set for a decision by the planning inspectorate, though it was expected it would be made by April.
"Trying to find a suitable site for a garden centre is very hard," said the spokesman.
"We have consulted with local planners at phenomenal cost to ourselves – the farm is ideal for a garden centre and we wouldn’t have gone this far if we didn’t think it would have been approved."
He added that the proposed buildings were of "moderate height", standing at 7 metres and 5.5 metres, and were smaller than some of the existing farm buildings on the site."