Peel L&P to appeal Bolton Council’s refusal of its £240m Hulton Park scheme

Plans for Hulton Park health and wellbeing hub

Manchester development business, Peel L&P, is to appeal Bolton Council’s decision to reject its £240m plans for Hulton Park.

The local authority announced on February 25, that it had rejected the company’s proposals which included redevelopment of the 882-acre site into a sport and healthy living destination, with plans to bid to host the Ryder Cup golfing tournament in either 2031 or 2035. The scheme was one of two venues shortlisted to host the global sporting extravaganza. Peel L&P also claimed that the scheme could deliver more than 1,000 jobs and £1.6bn in socio-economic benefits for the region.

This was despite the council approving earlier plans in 2018 which were followed by Secretary of State approval in 2020.

But councillors refused the application on the grounds of its impact on the Green Belt, a decision that prompted Peel L&P bosses to say: “Bolton has quite possibly missed out on the biggest investment in its history.”

Peel L&P’s plans involve restoring and opening up community access to the historic Hulton Park for the first time in its history. They would also create a new golfing academy, quality housing including affordable homes, a health and wellbeing hub, food and entertainment spaces, a village hall and community allotments.

The developer said its revised plans take on board further feedback from the community, with better transport proposals including a new Park Avenue to relieve congestion in Westhoughton, more environmental improvements and fewer homes on Green Belt land.

Richard Knight, director of planning and strategy at Peel L&P, said: “We already have planning permission to redevelop and restore Hulton Park following the Secretary of State’s approval in 2020, so we were very disappointed that Bolton Council refused our revised and improved scheme as it takes on board more local feedback and really is a once in a generation opportunity to invest in Bolton and level up the region.

“This level of investment will only happen if Hulton Park secures the Ryder Cup and we remain committed to securing support for the development as we know the extent of the benefits it will bring to Bolton and the North West. These include better housing choices, more jobs, improved transport, new health and wellbeing facilities and a golfing academy for the entire community.”

He added: “It is an ambitious scheme but one that Bolton deserves and needs. We want local people to be proud of what their town can achieve and get behind these revised plans as opportunities like this do not come along every day and the benefits will last a lifetime.”

Mike Blackburn, chair of Marketing Manchester, said: “The hopes of the North West hosting The Ryder Cup at Hulton Park in 2031 or 2035 remain very much alive and I believe this is a prize worth fighting for, and look forward to a positive outcome.

“If Hulton Park does gain planning consent and is selected to host one of the world’s greatest sporting competitions, Bolton and the wider region would see substantial benefits in terms of in-bound tourism for many years to come, as well as creating some outstanding community facilities benefiting the local community.”

Alongside the submission of the appeal, Peel L&P will also be in discussion with local people on the revised plans, including the Community Liaison Group set up for the project.

A series of community events and activities are also being planned at Hulton Park over the coming months, including a community archaeological dig with The University of Salford, walking tours, a summer fete and an arts event.