Refreshed plans to transform a park estate into houses, a luxury hotel and championship golf course have been put out for public consultation.
Peel L&P bought the Hulton Park Estate in Bolton in 2010 and announced plans for a major development at the site six years later.
Bolton Council granted the go ahead to the proposals in 2018, but the plans proved controversial with the local community and the decision was called in by the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, Robert Jenrick, the Manchester Evening News reports.
In July 2020, Jenrick approved the plans on the condition it wins a bid to host the Ryder Cup in 2030 or 2034.
Richard Knight, Peel L&P’s director of land and communities, said the plans have now been ‘refreshed’, after reflecting on feedback received from the local community.
He said: “We’ve had another look at the scheme and wondered whether we can make it bigger and better, both as a venue and resort, but also for the community.
“We’re hoping that people who have objected previously will look at what we’re putting forward and engage positively with that.
“This is a genuine refresh and we want to have a new conversation with people.”
Under the updated plans, Peel L&P wants to create a ‘park of three parts’, comprising of new community facilities, improved public access to green spaces and new villages set around the restored parkland landscape, as well as the international standard golf resort.
According to proposals, there is set to be:
- A championship golf course New homes in a range of sizes and styles, including affordable properties, with fewer homes in the Green Belt.
- A new direct link from the M61 Junction 5 through the Estate to North Road
- More usable green spaces accessible to both existing and future residents, including nature parks, meadows and hides
- An improved Hulton Trail and network of recreational routes for walking, running and cycling that will open up Hulton Park to surrounding communities and create a network of linked country parks with Cutacre and Hall Lee Bank.
- A new village centre, including a primary school, and local village greens.
- A new health and wellbeing hub, encouraging healthy and active lifestyles for residents of all ages, which could support facilities such as a lido, gym and space for exercise classes.
- Chequerbent Barns – a flexible food and drink venue for the community and able to host events such as markets and food festivals.
- More accommodation for tourists and visitors to complement the proposed luxury hotel and conference facility
Mr Knight added: “We recognise the importance of access to the Hulton Park Estate and our refreshed vision aims to ensure that local people are able to enjoy the Park in a way they have never been able to and for generations to come.
“Our ambition is to create the best new lifestyle community in the UK and Europe, embracing the principles of zero-carbon, connectivity and inclusivity.
“The plans present a unique opportunity to deliver an iconic modern sporting venue, visitor destination and parkland community fit for the 21st century.
“We are keen to demonstrate the transformative potential of the plans to the local community and look forward to hearing their views. Local knowledge is invaluable to us and will ensure that we can refine and deliver something very special for the local area.”
Professional golfer Pete Styles is the director of golf on the project and has worked on the development’s Ryder Cup bid.
He seemed confident that Bolton would be awarded the tournament in either 2031 or 2035 (pushed back from 2030 and 2034 due to the pandemic).
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Mr Styles said: “UK Sport are quite keen to attract the Ryder Cup, which is one of the major events of the sporting calendar.
“We’re trying to deliver the biggest Ryder Cup ever. There’s the potential to get 75,000 to 100,000 people each day, which is unprecedented for a golf tournament, but the scale of the course allows us to do that.”
Peel L&P confirmed that the development has been shortlisted as a potential venue as part of England’s bid to host the Ryder Cup in 2031 or 2035.
It follows a feasibility study, jointly-led by Ryder Cup Europe and UK Sport, which appraised the suitability of a number of venues across England, as part of Ryder Cup Europe’s wider consultation process to find European host countries and venues for both future editions of the biennial contest.
When England’s bid is made to Ryder Cup Europe it will be considered alongside several other interested European nations for the 2031 and 2035 events.
Ryder Cup Europe is not expected to make a decision on the chosen host countries until later this year.
“I think that when you bring forward such a bold plan as bringing the Ryder Cup to Bolton there’s going to be some scepticism,” Mr Styles added.
“By virtue of the fact that we’re now shortlisted to a very small group of golf courses, that’s almost them rubber stamping that ‘these guys can deliver’.
“There was a long list of around 11, that got cropped to seven and now we believe we’re in the final three.
“At each stage, we’ve had to pass some fairly stringent tests; such as whether the course will be suitable and whether the transport access is suitable.
“We need a really good venue, something that will drive the Ryder Cup forwards, and we need a big venue – this would be the biggest venue.
“The people of Bolton need to be proud that we are capable of doing this.”
If awarded the Ryder Cup, Peel L&P said that more than 1,000 jobs would be created in the local area and there would be a social and economic impact of at least £1.2bn.
Mr Knight admitted that a lot hinges on the Ryder Cup bid, which is set to be made at the end of the year.
“We’re very focused on trying to win that bid and deliver this project,” he said.
“We’re not thinking too much about what happens if we don’t. We don’t have another plan at the moment.
“Something has to be done with Hulton Park, however, because it’s in a state of decline and that was accepted by the secretary of state.”
A public consultation has now launched on the updated scheme, which will run until June 23, 2021.