Proposals by Formby Hall to extend and upgrade its current facilities to create “a world-class, multi-purpose resort” on green belt land look set to win the backing of Sefton Council’s planning committee when it meets next week.
Supported by planner Turley and architect Unwin Jones Partnership, the resort’s application is for significant investment in its estate which will see a new-build extension to its existing hotel; a golf clubhouse and function suite, an extension to its restaurant, and office suite, and a re-configured leisure club.
According to Turley, the move comes as the resort is “frequently turning away requests for accommodation due to a lack of availability”, while the existing spa has a “sub-optimal layout” and the vehicular access to the site “lacks a sense of place and is detrimental to the resort’s reputation as an upscale destination”.
The resort currently extends to more than 200 acres and already features two golf courses of 18 and nine holes; a 27-bay driving range; a golf shop; health spa; and a 76-bed hotel.
It also hosts one of only three PGA Academies in the UK, and the only one in the North of England.
A two-storey wing is proposed to be built on the existing overspill car park, featuring 43 en-suite rooms with balconies or patios, while the first floor of the existing health club and spa building will be converted to provide 20 rooms.
A quadrant-shaped golf clubhouse and function room is also proposed, featuring an event space for more than 300 guests. This will be built on land to the west of the existing hotel building.
Back-of-house functions for the hotel and golf club will also be relocated to a new building to the north of the current health club and spa, beside the driving range, featuring a single-storey biomass plant building and two storeys of office space.
The hotel’s existing overspill car park is proposed to become the resort’s main parking facility with a capacity of 439 vehicles, including accessible spaces.
The entire resort falls within green belt under Sefton’s Local Plan, but in a report to next week’s committee, planners said exceptional circumstances had been justified to allow the project to proceed.
According to the planners, these include improved tourist attractions in the borough; “unique” hotel accommodation to support golfing and other leisure facilities in Sefton; improvements to Sefton’s “golf coast” and its national and international status; and “significant economic benefits” including an uplift in productivity and job creation.
The scheme has not attracted any objections from statutory consultees or neighbours.
A separate application was also submitted to build 10 residential units, replacing the farm buildings known as The Piggeries, as well as an outline application for 18 woodland lodges overlooking the golf course. These, however, is not being considered at Sefton’s next planning committee and are yet to be determined.