The plans to build a multi-million pound hotel and golf course with the view of staging the 2026 Ryder Cup have been called in for a public inquiry by the UK government.
Local councillors had approved the planning application for the project at Hulton Park Estate near Bolton, which also included 1,036 homes, but it faced strong opposition from MPs and the local community.
As a result, the inquiry into the application, which was lodged by Peel Land and Property, will be chaired by a planning inspector and is expected to take place in six months’ time. Secretary of State James Brokenshire will make the final decision.
The announcement that the 2022 Ryder Cup was to be staged in Italy came in late 2015 – seven years in advance of the match – meaning if similar protocol was to take place this time around, the 2026 Ryder Cup venue would be announced at some point time in 2019.
As a result, the call-in raises the possibility of Peel Land and Property missing the programme to bid for and deliver the 2026 Ryder Cup, which community group Hulton Estate Area Residents Together (HEART) – who oppose the plans – believes isn’t the intention of the project anyway.
Speaking to bunkered sister title UK Club Golfer last month, Sandra Hesketh, secretary of HEART, said: “We don’t think Peel have any intention of wanting a golf course, let alone the Ryder Cup. We think it’s a red herring. It’s a prime bit of land that they bought seven years ago and they want to build houses on it. End of story.
“It’s a nonsense it even got planning permission. Hulton Park is riddled with coalmines and is totally flooded. How on earth will they have it ready, from scratch, for the Ryder Cup in seven years?”
This morning, Hesketh described the latest development as ‘fantastic’, with HEART now preparing to go head to head with Peel Land and Property in the courtroom.
Adare Manor in Ireland, owned by billionaire businessman J.P. McManus, is the hot favourite to stage the 2026 match.