Formby Hall Lodges

Sefton demurs on Formby Hall lodges

Neil Tague

Sefton Council’s planning committee has deferred a decision on Formby Hall Golf Resort’s latest proposal for expansion, a scheme that had been recommended for approval.

Advised by Turley, Formby Hall had put forward plans to build 11 woodland lodges, to be serviced from the main Formby Hall hotel, to the north of the hotel and golf course.

The timber lodges will each be two-bedroom, each featuring a decking area and a kitchenette with heating and hot water provided by a proposed biomass plant, to be brought forward under a separate planning application.

Although the development is situated in the Green Belt, planning officers said there were “very special circumstances” to allow the development to go ahead, stating that “the unique nature of the accommodation and its setting will make a distinctive contribution to tourism and to the economy of the borough”.

However, at a lengthy meeting, a decision on the application was deferred to a future committee session, with the applicant requested to provide more information. Place understands that the committee is particularly interested in tree loss as a result of the scheme.

According to the reports pack complied for committee,  the scheme will result in the loss immediately of four large trees – none graded as high quality – with a further three to be monitored. New shrubs and 210 trees are included in the plan’s new planting scheme in a project that has been reduced from a previous iteration including 18 lodges.

The report from Sefton’s trees officer included in the application reports pack had stated that although the scheme will result in some impact upon the woodland, “the scheme has been designed to reduce the impact on the existing trees”. The report added that although concerns over tree loss were present, the officer’s  belief is that “the planting of new trees and management to be a benefit with a long-term management plan.”

Formby Hall Golf Resort opened in 1998 and has gone through several expansion projects since. It 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.

Last year, the resort secured planning permission for an expansion; this includes a two-storey wing 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.

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