Developers behind ambitious plans to build a luxury golf resort in Bolton are going to appeal against a planning committee’s decision to reject the proposals.
Peel L&P’s plans for the historic Hulton Park were approved by the Secretary of State in 2020, on the condition that the site was awarded the prestigious Ryder Cup golf tournament in 2031 or 2035. But in February of this year, councillors overwhelmingly voted against a revised vision for the site, which also included 1,036 homes, a primary school, short stay holiday accommodation, a hotel, conference centre and a village hall.
Despite the rejection and dozens of objections from local residents, Peel told the Manchester Evening News that they still remain ‘confident’ in the site’s Ryder Cup bid and admitted that they could still implement the Secretary of State-approved proposals, even if an appeal is rejected.
A spokesman said: “The revised and improved development that we are appealing is also subject to a Ryder Cup restriction and will only go ahead if we are awarded The Ryder Cup. We still have planning permission for the original development plans and could implement that scheme if the Ryder Cup condition is satisfied.”
Addressing the decision to submit an appeal, Richard Knight, director of planning and strategy at Peel L&P, said: “We already have planning permission to redevelop and restore Hulton Park following the Secretary of State’s approval in 2020 so we were very disappointed that Bolton Council refused our revised and improved scheme as it takes on board more local feedback and really is a once in a generation opportunity to invest in Bolton and level up the region.
“This level of investment will only happen if Hulton Park secures the Ryder Cup and we remain committed to securing support for the development as we know the extent of the benefits it will bring to Bolton and the North West. These include better housing choices, more jobs, improved transport, new health and wellbeing facilities and a golfing academy for the entire community.
“It is an ambitious scheme but one that Bolton deserves and needs. We want local people to be proud of what their town can achieve and get behind these revised plans as opportunities like this do not come along every day and the benefits will last a lifetime.”
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Peel state that the revised scheme is worth £1.6 billion in socio-economic benefits and would create 1,000 new jobs in Bolton over 20 years. A new ‘park avenue’ would also be built through the site, which Peel say would help relieve congestion in Westhoughton.
The proposed site is still one of only two English venues shortlisted by UK Sport and Ryder Cup Europe for the 2031 event. UK Sport were set to decide between Hulton Park and London Golf Club by April but Peel said that the selection process had been paused by the UK Government due to ‘macro economic conditions impacting on Government funding’.
A spokesman said: “We were expecting to be working to that timeframe, ahead of a funding decision in the recent Spring Budget, but shortly after the planning decision we were informed that the selection process had been paused by the UK Government due to macro economic conditions impacting on Government funding.
“Hulton Park remains shortlisted for an anticipated English Ryder Cup bid being revived in 2023 – after the appeal has been decided. We are committed and confident in our position, otherwise we would not be proceeding.
“Despite the recent planning decision, we are trying to do the right thing and deliver a better deal for the local community, a deal that restores Hulton Park, preserves most of it as open land, and delivers huge levelling up benefits in terms of sport, health, infrastructure, skills and tourism.”
Mike Blackburn, Chair of Marketing Manchester added: “The hopes of the North West hosting The Ryder Cup at Hulton Park in 2031 or 2035 remain very much alive and I believe this is a prize worth fighting for, and look forward to a positive outcome. If Hulton Park does gain planning consent and is selected to host one of the world’s greatest sporting competitions, Bolton and the wider region would see substantial benefits in terms of in-bound tourism for many years to come, as well as creating some outstanding community facilities benefiting the local community.”