Tribunal dismisses developer’s appeal over golf course

Salford Mayor Paul Dennett

Salford City Council has welcomed a ruling in its favour concerning the possible development of Swinton Park Golf and Country Club.

A first-tier tribunal has dismissed an appeal by Wain Estates Limited to overturn the decision taken by the council to list the land at Swinton Park Golf and Country Club 2017 as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).

The golf course and club house were closed in 2020 with various developers expressing interest for housing development.

The council, with the full support of residents, has always maintained that the land currently designated in Salford’s Local Plan should remain as recreational land.

The council took the decision to designate the golf course as an ACV in November 2019, which determined that the golf club is land of community value and should be added to the council’s list of assets of community value.

City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “The city council’s position on the land remains unchanged in that we wish to see the site remain as a venue for golf and recreational purposes for the people of Swinton and Salford.

“This position is reaffirmed within our Local Plan document, which has been consulted upon with residents and other stakeholders across the city.

“I have made representations to developers in advance of any potential purchase outlining our position. I hope that the decision taken by the court will secure this vital piece of land as recreational.”

He added: “The ‘Asset of Community Value’ (ACV) was put in place for the golf course given the clear public interest in the future of the site and the strategic importance of the site as articulated in the city council’s Local Plan.

“We always believed that Wain Estates’ objection to the ACV classification was spurious and we are very pleased this has been confirmed by the court.

“It’s unfortunate that we’ve had to commit public money to defending the city council’s position in the court, especially given the public support for retaining the land for the purposes of recreation.

“I hope that Wain Homes will now reconsider their development aspirations for the site on the back of this decision.”

Cllr Jim Cammell, speaking on behalf of the ward councillors for Swinton, said: “We know that our residents want the Swinton Park Golf Club site to remain as recreational land and I would like to thank ‘Save Swinton Park Golf Club’ for their hard work and dedication to this campaign, and the officers at Salford City Council for the extra work they have had to do to defend the decision to register the site as an Asset of Community Value.

“The land remains at the heart of our ambitions to retain recreational land in Swinton and the decision of the court is welcomed.”

In April 2021 property developer Himor, part of Wain Group, confirmed it had acquired the land and a spokesperson said: “We are now committed to consulting with local residents, through the appropriate processes, to explore potential uses which best meet local needs.”

However, plans to develop the site for housing met with fierce local opposition.

Wain Estates has declined to comment.

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