The secretary of state has approved the developer’s longstanding plans to transform the historic Hulton Park estate into an international golf destination complete with luxury hotel and 1,000 homes, following an inquiry.
Peel Land & Property, part of Peel Group, acquired the 138-acre site in 2010 and later submitted plans to build a golf course, 142-bedroom hotel with conference and spa facilities to be housed in the listed Hulton Hall near Bolton, and 1,036 homes split across three surrounding areas – the largest being a 150-acre plot to the west for 759 homes.
In March 2018, Bolton Council approved the £240m plans despite fierce opposition, including more than 1,000 letters of objection registered against the scheme. It was then called in by the Secretary of State and a public inquiry followed last year.
Peel L&P has argued that the project has the potential to boost the national economy by £1.2bn. It aims to open the course in 2025, bidding to host golf’s highest-profile international match, the Ryder Cup, in either 2030 or 2034.
The developer has also proposed to include minimum 10% affordable housing provision and a link road between Chequerbent and Platt Lane.
Secretary of State for Housing and Communities Robert Jenrick has now approved the planning application, although Peel L&P said that the consent is subject to a “restriction regarding the award of the Ryder Cup. Further announcements will be made in due course,” it said.
The project is supported by a range of sports and tourism bodies, local universities and business groups, as well as Bolton Council, the developer added.
Richard Knight, Director of Land and Communities for Peel L&P said: “Our plans for Hulton Park can deliver an amazing global sporting destination capable of hosting major tournaments as well as a catalyst for positive change, healthy living, heritage restoration and tourism in Bolton.
“The proposals can also bring much-needed housing to the borough and the development is both respectful to the area’s heritage, and the environment, with original roads and footpaths retained and the creation of new wildlife habitats to enhance biodiversity.”
The latest decision “allows us to move to the next stage of making the project a reality”, he added.
Consultancy Turley was the planning consultant on the scheme, and also provided economics, environmental impact assessment and design services for the project, and acted as an expert witness during the inquiry.