A final decision has been made on plans to build a major ‘Ryder Cup’ standard luxury golf course in Bolton.
The Hulton Park scheme, which will include an 18-hole championship golf course and a total of 1,036 homes, had been thrown out by Bolton Council earlier this year.
The government has now given developers Peel L&P the green light after an appeal, but the huge project will still hinge on whether the borough is successful in its bid to host the Ryder Cup competition.
A Bolton Council spokesperson said: “The Planning Inspector has found that the proposed changes to the Hulton Park scheme are an acceptable modification to the existing planning approval granted by the Secretary of State in 2020.
“The council notes the decision and will now look closely at the detail in the inspector’s report and consider any implications of these changes for the surrounding area.
“The development remains contingent on the site being selected as a venue for a future Ryder Cup.
“Each phase of development would be subject to reserved matters planning applications, and these will be considered in line with national planning policy.”
As well as the golf course and homes, the plans will also include a village centre, a village hall, community allotments, a primary school and short stay holiday accommodation.
The planning inspectorate approved the plans after a two-day enquiry held at the Holiday Inn in Bolton over October 6 and 7.
The enquiry heard from both supporters and opponents of the bid and developers Peel L&P have welcomed today’s decision.
Peel L&P director of planning and strategy Richard Knight said: “We put forward a robust and compelling case at the Public Inquiry and are pleased that the Inspector has recognised the long-term benefits a revitalised Hulton Park will bring to the economy of Bolton and the North West
“This demonstrates that our plans in the best interests of Bolton and local people and now is the time for Bolton to get behind the bid and support the development coming to the town to help secure a prosperous and exciting future for Bolton.
“We will continue to promote the unique offer Bolton and Hulton Park provides and looks forward to the continued support it has had to date.”
Bolton Council had already taken the decision not to defend the planning committee’s rejection of the bid back in February before this month’s enquiry.
But opponents of the project, like campaign group HEART, have long argued that it could prove damaging to greenbelt land around Bolton and that the bid to host the Ryder Cup may not even succeed.
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HEART secretary Sandra Hesketh said: “I’m not surprised given the tone of the public enquiry.
“Bolton Council let us down along the way by not defending their decision to turn down the planning application so Peel were not cross examined.”
She added: “They had no evidence of the so-called social and economic benefits of this development so if Bolton Council had challenged it we might have stood a chance.”