Plans for a £414 million scheme to build a course for one of golf’s most prestigious events in Bolton have been rejected.
The plans – which were drawn up in current form by developers Peel L&P back in 2018, but have been in the works for longer and have been the subject of much local controversy ever since – proposed that a “championship-grade” golf course would be built on the historic Hulton Park site to become a host destination for 2031 Ryder Cup.
As well as the golf course, the wider Hulton Park development looked to become a community hub and was proposed to include a total of 1,036 homes, a primary school, short stay holiday accommodation, a hotel, conference centre, and a village hall.
But all except once Councillor voted against the plans yesterday.
Bolton Council were said to have refused plans for the development expressing concerns around the environment, the impact on green belt land, congestion, and the quality of jobs in the area, while opposition campaigners called it a “housing project in golf clothing”.
Dozens of objections were received by the Council since the plans were first submitted.
Over the course of the three hour meeting yesterday, the committee heard from both supporters and opponents of the plan.
“The golf course devastates a large area of land and brings a thousands plus house and some of the issues if they’re not dealt with at planning level brings more problems to us as Westhoughton people,” said Cllr David Wilkinson, who represents Westhoughton South.
“I’m sorry it’s a vanity project,” he added.
Independent Cllr Martin McMulkin said the plan “is not going to address the levels of deprivation in that part of the borough”, and added that golf is “not and never will be a sport of the working class.”
Cllr Martyn Cox – Leader of Bolton Council – said the plans would “too impactful” on greenspace, while Labour leader Nick Peel said that the council’s lack of “corporate” support for a Ryder Cup bid also undermined the proposal.
Local campaigners against the plans – which notably included Westhoughton-born actress Maxine Peake – also told the planning committee meeting the development would cause significant environmental damage, with protester Phil Wood claiming once the Ryder Cup was over, the developer would build more houses on the land.
Historian Elaine Taylor too urging councillors to preserve the Grade II-listed Georgian park and its surrounding landscape.
On the flip side, speaking in favour of the development, CBI North West’s Damian Waters said it represented a “once-in a generation opportunity to transform the Bolton economy”, and the University of Bolton’s president Prof George Holmes said it would bring “prosperity to the town and much-needed national and international attention”.
The planning committee also heard from former Ladies European Tour golfer Sophie Walker, who said watching the Ryder Cup in Paris had been the “best sporting experience” of her life, and bringing it to Bolton would “inspire” people to play golf.
Following the rejection of the proposals, Richard Knight – Director of Planning and Strategy at Peel L&P – said Bolton has “quite possibly missed out on the biggest investment in its history”.
He continued: “Bolton Council had approved the previous scheme and encouraged us to make positive changes, but it has done a U-turn at the last hurdle [and] it is hard to comprehend.
“Evidently, very localised opposition has taken priority over the potential benefits for Bolton.
“Since 2018, we have worked hard with local residents and stakeholders in order to adapt our proposals to reflect the community’s aspirations for the site with less homes on greenbelt land and a range of facilities including a new school, health and wellbeing hub public trails and transport improvements.”
Peel L&P now has a right to appeal the decision.
The developer’s appealing of the decision could lead to a public inquiry, with the final say on the project being left to the secretary of state – however, a decision on the host for the 2031 Ryder Cup is expected in July.
Featured Image – Peel L&P
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”