Peel salutes ‘huge step forward’ but Hulton opposition remains
The development giant has welcomed yesterday’s approval by Bolton Council of its £240m Hulton Park proposals, a decision made in the face of more than 1,000 letters of objection.
Peel Land & Property acquired the 138-acre site in 2010 and submitted a hybrid application, seeking full consent for a championship-standard golf course with a hotel with conferencing and spa facilities; and outline consent for 1,036 homes. It is hoped the championship golf course will form part of a bid to host the 2026 Ryder Cup.
A spokesman for Peel said: “We are delighted with the decision by Bolton’s planning committee to approve this ground-breaking scheme, which offers a sporting facility of international quality and reputation. This positive move by the committee is a huge step forward in our shared vision of bringing the world’s third largest sporting event – the Ryder Cup – to Hulton Park, with huge economic and social benefits for the people of Bolton.
“We believe that the Hulton Park development and the huge potential of the Ryder Cup would greatly enhance Greater Manchester’s international standing in the sporting world. The strategic fit for Bolton Council is immense – investment and tourism; jobs and skills; sport, recreation and health; heritage and biodiversity, new homes and transport infrastructure.”
Among the prominent voices in opposition to the proposals were Bolton Council leader Linda Thomas, the Hulton Estate Area Residents Together group and the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s Lancashire branch, which requested a call-in by the Secretary of State prior to the decision and this morning told Place North West it would refresh that call.
Jackie Copley, planning manager for CPRE Lancashire, said: “We’re concerned that there are 1,000 market houses planned, which doesn’t respond to local need – at the very least there should be affordable housing. It’s quite likely they will never get the Ryder Cup, but it feels like Bolton felt it hard to say no to Peel, with the additional pressure of needing to demonstrate a five-year housing supply.
“The earthworks for the course and buildings will destroy the integrity of the Eames heritage assets, which was the whole point of the estate being listed. We’ll provide any help and planning advice local residents request, and hopefully there will be a public inquiry.”
The process for selecting the 2026 Ryder Cup host is to begin in September, following the completion of this year’s event, in Paris. Rome will play host on the tournament’s next visit to Europe in 2022, meaning that a UK venue is highly likely to be picked for 2026.
Peel’s spokesman continued: “The Government, specifically UK Sport and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, wants to bring the Ryder Cup to England as part of its national Sporting Future strategy. Hulton Park is in a strong position. It has the right site and the right masterplan, the right location in a part of the country where nothing similar exists, with Peel as the delivery partner.
“It has a distinct advantage in being a new, bespoke venue, specifically designed to meet the ever-growing needs for course specification and tournament staging. This decision means we can now progress our business planning and work closely with the European Tour prior to the selection decision.”
The 142-bed hotel will be housed on the site of Hulton Hall and will be either four or five-star, taking up 116,000 sq ft.
Residential development will be split across three areas; a 150-acre site of 759 homes to the west, accessed via a new link road; an 18-acre site of 192 houses, accessed from the A6; and a 15-acre site with the potential to deliver 85 homes.
The new link road, running between Chequerbent roundabout and Platt Lane, is estimated at close to £5m.