The public inquiry into the development came to a close this week
The future of an historic 1,000-acre estate hangs in the balance as a public inquiry into a major housing development and Ryder Cup golf course came to a close this week.
Developer Peel L&P wants to build 1,036 homes, 142-bed hotel and a championship grade golf course at the Hulton Park estate – but only if it is chosen to host the Ryder Cup.
Bolton Council gave the green light to the proposal last year but its decision was called in by the Secretary of State after a hard-fought campaign by Hulton Estate Area Residents Together (HEART).
This is the first time that the government has intervened in a decision by Bolton Council in such a way since the new Wanderers’ football stadium and the major out-of-town retail park in Middlebrook were signed off in 1995.
MPs, councillors and dozens of residents attended the three-week hearing and many made their case against the development directly to the government-appointed inspector.
Sandra Hesketh, secretary of HEART, was one of many members from the campaign group who spoke during the two sessions for public comments.
She said: “HEART remains resolutely opposed to this inappropriate development in the green belt that would substantially harm the registered park and garden with Bolton’s heritage being eroded.
“The public inquiry is finished. We feel we have put our case effectively. We have confidence in the planning process to protect what is at the heart of our community.”
Richard Knight, planning director at Peel L&P said the company is happy that all the facts and opinions were heard at the “fairly held” inquiry which was.
He said: “This is a generational opportunity to show faith and confidence in Bolton, Greater Manchester and the Northern Powerhouse, whilst providing a thriving long term beneficial use for an important but declining historic asset.
“We stand ready to move this unique opportunity forward, alongside the widest possible range of local, regional and national bodies who have declared their support.”
Planning inspector Karen Ridge will now write a report with a recommendation for the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government who will make the final decision.