Public inquiry date set for revised Hulton Park plans

Plans for Hulton Park

A date for the public inquiry into Manchester developer Peel L&P’s revised plans for Hulton Park, Bolton, has been set for October 6.

It follows the rejection, by Bolton Council, of the revised plans to redevelop and restore the historic estate into an iconic sporting venue and healthy living destination.

Previous proposals for Hulton Park were approved by the council in 2018 and, after the proposals were called in and a public inquiry held in 2019, the original scheme was approved by the Secretary of State in 2020.

Peel describes the £240m project as a potential game changer for Bolton which would deliver a £240m investment, more than 1,000 jobs, and a long term national impact of £1.6bn. The project remains one of only two English venues shortlisted by UK Sport and Ryder Cup Europe for an English bid for the 2031 Ryder Cup.

Under the revised and improved proposals, Hulton Park would be restored and opened-up for community access for the first time in its 700-year history, delivering 12km of new and improved public walking and cycling trails in historic parkland.

The plans would also create a new golfing academy, quality housing including affordable homes, a primary school, a health and wellbeing hub, food and entertainment spaces, a village hall and community allotments.

Richard Knight, director of planning and strategy at Peel L&P, said: “We already have the Secretary of State’s approval to redevelop Hulton Park and it is unfortunate that another public inquiry is needed for an improved proposal that responds to local feedback, but we now have another chance to articulate our case for this ambitious and transformative project.

“The restoration of Hulton Park is a generational investment opportunity, not only of itself, but the wider positive impact it would bring in terms of social impact for local communities around skills, health, participation and prosperity, not to mention the huge boost it would give to Bolton and its wider regeneration plans.

“We are also very pleased and excited that over the summer we will be opening the gates of Hulton Park with a diverse programme of events to engage people from across the town and beyond. We aim to showcase the incredible potential of Hulton Park and improve people’s understanding of what we trying to do.”

Neil Hart, chief executive at Bolton Wanderers Football Club said: “The prospect of The Ryder Cup, one of the world’s greatest sporting competitions coming to Bolton, is extremely compelling.

“Bolton Wanderers is pleased to support this ambitious proposal, which would be a brilliant win for our town, delivering more accessible green space and new community sporting facilities. We, therefore, hope the planning appeal at the forthcoming public inquiry is successful and we look forward to working closely with the project team over the coming months and years.”

Despite Bolton Council approving earlier plans, which were followed by Secretary of State approval, Bolton Council’s planning committee voted against officers’ recommendations and refused the revised proposal in February this year.

The project is conditional on Hulton Park securing the rights to host The Ryder Cup tournament in 2031 or 2035.

Peel L&P’s 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.

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.

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