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A public inquiry into a proposed Ryder Cup venue rejected by councillors earlier this year has begun.
Hulton Park in Bolton was the subject of ambitious plans to bring the biennial clash to the north-west of England.
Councillors threw out proposals for the championship golf course, primary school and 1,000 homes against the advice of local authority officials in February.
At the time, developer Peel L&P warned the town had missed out on “possibly the biggest investment in its history”.
“We’ve said it before but this is a huge opportunity for Bolton,” said Richard Knight, Peel’s director of planning and strategy, ahead of the inquiry.
“The boost to the local economy, and the prosperity and wellbeing of local communities arising from such a project would be enormous.
“Bringing the Ryder Cup – one of world’s premier sporting events – to Bolton would be an Olympic moment for the town, but our proposals are about so much more. There would be regular golf events but also a venue for conferencing, staycations, days out – all of which would help regenerate the area. The plans include new facilities and infrastructure for the community, and much-needed new homes with a reduced impact on the Green Belt than our previously approved plans.
“By opening Hulton Park to the public for the first time in history, local people will benefit from vastly improved access to greenspace including new and improved public walking and cycling trails in the historic parkland. Our successful Hulton Park Happenings events this summer – and others taking place later this month – are demonstrating the Park’s potential to host a range of community events long into the future.
“Alongside our supporters, we look forward to articulating our case for this ambitious and transformative project at the Inquiry this week. We are continuing discussions with Ryder Cup Europe and UK Sport, and if we are successful with the appeal we hope to see that process move forward quickly.”
According to Peel, the development of Hulton Park would inject £250million into the local economy and create around 1,000 jobs.
Despite the plans being rejected by councillors, the firm has not given up hope of the development going ahead and it remains shortlisted to host the Ryder Cup in either 2031 or 2035.
It has stated its intention to appeal the decision, although bosses have admitted they will need to rethink their strategy if they are unsuccessful in their bid to host the event.
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