CONTROVERSIAL plans to create a Ryder Cup golf course and build 1,000 homes have been recommended for approval, causing outrage among campaigners.
The report on Peel Land and Property’s application for the Grade II-listed Hulton Park was released by Bolton Council planning officers yesterday, exactly a week before it was due to go before committee.
It stated the potential economic benefits from the proposal qualifies as ‘special circumstances’ and outweighs the loss of land in the green belt.
Peel is hoping the golf course will host the Ryder Cup in 2026. The development would not be built if the bid failed, according to the report.
The planning officer said: “The Ryder Cup is the third largest global sports event, one of only a few ‘mega events’.
Since they were revealed last year, the plans have been widely opposed, including by actor and former Westhoughton High School pupil Maxine Peake.
Members of Hulton Estate Area Residents Together (Heart) have held a number of protests and are planning on staging a demonstration at the town hall on Thursday before the committee makes a decision.
Cllr David Chadwick, chairman of Heart and Westhoughton South representative on Bolton Council, said: “I do not understand how officers could recommend approval.
“It is just beyond my understanding. It is absolutely crackers. The fact they are going to build so many houses on there is just ridiculous.
“If you look at the document, it says that there is going to be one million tonnes of earth moved on Hulton Park.
“I just find this unbelievable. I do not understand it. It should not be approved.
“It is just ridiculous, Westhoughton is under siege.”
A spokesman from Peel Land and Property described Hulton Park as a “valuable resource” but one that has been in decline “for around a century”.
He said: “The proposal would create a sporting facility of international quality and reputation, and has been specifically designed to host the Ryder Cup golf tournament and other major golf events.
“The event brings with it both major social and economic benefits and the potential for a lasting, positive legacy for the host area, including training opportunities for local people, job creation, increased sports participation, and health and wellbeing benefits.
“The project will raise the profile of the area on the world-stage and enhance Bolton’s offer for sport, tourism and investment.”
The planning committee will debate the application at the town hall next Thursday at 2pm.
Bolton Council will be broadcasting the meeting live on the big screen in Festival Hall for people who will be unable to get a seat in the council chamber.
Tickets will be issued on a first come, first serve basis from 1.30pm.
It will also be broadcast online at bolton.public-i.tv/core/portal/home
Source: The Bolton News