Business leaders back £200m leisure project

Jim Anderson

Business leaders from across Wirral have voiced their support for a £200m leisure complex.

The Hoylake Resort, which would include a 90-bedroom hotel, health club and spa, two 18-hole golf courses, a PGA golf academy and residential development, will be built on the site of the current municipal golf course.

If given the go-ahead, the scheme – led by the Jack Nicklaus Joint Venture Group – would create around 100 jobs immediately, rising to 300 later on.

An extraordinary Wirral Council meeting has been called after a number of councillors objected to the scheme.

The project was first put forward in November 2016. Since then, Wirral Council has agreed to back the scheme with prudential borrowing of £26m, along with £600,000 to support geotechnical surveys.

Hoylake Resort, which would be managed by luxury hotel brand Celtic Manor, is expected to bring £350,000 to local food suppliers each year and attract up to 250,000 visitors annually.

Paul Askew, chairman of the Wirral Visitor Economy Board, is calling on businesses to back the project and show their support.

Paul, who is also chef patron at the Art School Restaurant in Liverpool, said: “In terms of the borough’s future growth and tourism strategy, the Hoylake Resort is an extremely positive move. It is an opportunity to welcome a new era to Wirral and one which we simply cannot afford to let pass us by.

“The resort will of course fly the flag for sport, but it will also create a world-class destination for businesses and tourists, which is something that we’re in desperate need of in order to keep moving forward.”

Among those businesses already backing the scheme is Hoylake-based, family-run firm JD Engineering.

Manager Julie Jones said: “It’s fair to say that the town centre has been in decline for some time and this resort has the potential to boost local spend and revitalise Hoylake.

“I think it’s important that we consider what the development means for future generations in terms of job creation and keeping Hoylake alive – we need to change if we are to move forward.”

Neil Parsley, co-founder of UTS Gym – which overlooks the proposed site – said: “We are a company born out of sport and we truly believe that sport is an excellent vehicle for things like leadership, communication and growth, so to have a resort such as this on our doorstep is something we should be proud of and should show our full support for.”

Andy Macgregor, managing director at BT Local Business, which has had a presence in Wirral since 2006, said: “It’s a real testament to Wirral’s businesses and residents that such a development could be created here.

“Not only will it attract visitors to Hoylake itself, but it will help put Wirral on the map for those outside the area, showcasing what the borough has to offer.”

Open to both members and the public, the Hoylake Resort will feature a championship standard Jack Nicklaus-designed modern links-style course, along with the world’s first Jack Nicklaus-designed municipal golf course.

And the chairman of the Jack Nicklaus Joint Venture Group Jim Anderson said: “One of our key priorities is integrating ourselves in the Wirral business community, and so we are committed to working with key figures from across the borough to discuss exactly how we can help shape its future.

“We have pledged to use local suppliers – from construction to food and drink – wherever possible, as we see the Hoylake resort as a development that both local residents and businesses should be proud to call theirs.

“Of course, we are still in the early stages of planning and we would welcome the opportunity to meet with businesses to discuss potential partnerships and outline our plans.”