Bolton Council has rejected plans to build a luxury golf course to host the Ryder Cup and more than 1,000 houses on the Hulton park estate.
The planned golf course was one of just two venues short-listed to host one of golf’s biggest event, the Ryder Cup, in 2031.
Any development on the site could have only gone ahead if the golf tournament bid was successful.
As well as the golf course, developers Peel wished the Hulton Park development to include 1,036 homes, a primary school, short stay holiday accommodation, a hotel, conference centre and a village hall.
Developers Peel had a similar application previously approved in 2018 which was later rubber stamped by the central government but have revised the plans, saying the new proposals have less impact on the green belt.
Dozens of objections were received by the council, many expressing concern at the loss of green belt land and traffic and road issues.
The leader of Bolton council Martyn Cox urged the committee to reject the plans.
He said: “‘This is an extraordinary development and on the other hand the campaigners against are committed and moderate.”
Coun Cox said Peel have made ‘big strides’ with regard to public engagement but is disappointed that the impact on green space is ‘too impactful’.
He added: “I ask the committee to oppose these plans.”
Committee member Coun Nick Peel said there had been no corporate backing to host the Ryder Cup from Bolton Council and Coun Cox’s comments backed up that position.
Why did people object?
Objector Phil Wood addressed the committee.
He, said: “This proposal can only take effect with a Ryder Cup held there in 2031 or 2035.
“It could only ever host one, Peel would then dig it up and build more houses, it’s a lame duck golf course, a housing project in golf’s clothing.
“It won’t stop at 1,000 houses.
“If you approve this you’ll get a lame duck golf course, a useless road and a financial shortfall in later years.”
Objector, Elaine Taylor, said: “This beautiful Georgian landscape will be carved up by this proposal.
“We are the custodians of this park, let’s respect our heritage.
“Our legacy is this park with two lakes, two waterfalls copses and hundreds of trees, it’s English history on doorstep.”
What did the developers say?
James Whittaker, from developers Peel, said: “Bolton can become home to Europe’s biggest and best golf destination, and host to one of the world’s greatest sporting events.
“These proposals will give a huge boost to Bolton’s prosperity and civic pride, creating a lasting legacy of sport, health, tourism, heritage and skills.
“Bolton is in a great position, shortlisted for the Ryder Cup in 2031, one of only two potential venues, the other in London, just when the Government has pledged to level up and focus major sporting events outside the capital.
“This project would be a catalyst for significant regeneration across Bolton including the town centre and towns like Horwich and Farnworth.
“The legacy of your decision today, beyond the overwhelming benefits in terms of historic restoration, local infrastructure and community facilities, would be to improve the lives of generations of Boltonians for the better.”
Peel said it would also deliver part of a link road between Bolton and Wigan to help improve transport routes through Westhoughton.
Hulton Park faced competition from the London Golf Club Club in Kent on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s short-list for the world famous event.
Planning officers said the amended development represented ‘very special circumstances’ for development in the green belt due to the ‘transformational benefits’ of the golf club.
However, the committee voted against the plans citing the effect it would have on the green belt and that there were no special circumstances to build there, congestion and threats to clean air.
Fifteen members of the planning committee voted to reject the plans with just one in favour.