Decision time for £200 million luxury 'Ryder Cup' golf course in Bolton

What the luxury gold course at the Hulton Estate in Bolton could look like when it hosts the Ryder Cup. Credit: Peel L&P

Plans to build a luxury golf resort capable of hosting the sport's biggest tournament to Bolton has sparked controversy.

The resort, which developers Peel want to build to host the prestigious Ryder Cup, includes thousands of homes, a hotel and a school alongside the 'international sports destination'.

But, the proposed site is on a Grade II-listed estate and has angered a large group near-by residents who are opposed to any destruction of the green belt land.

HEART residents campaign group who are opposed to the redevelopment on greenbelt land in Over Hulton

The Hulton Estate Area Residents Together, known as HEART, campaign group is backed by the actor Maxine Peake.

The Bolton-born star used to ride horses on the Hulton estate and 'loved spending her formative' years on the local farms.

She has described the plans to build on the greenbelt and a "crime which is motivated by greed."

The actor added the area is crying out for more 'affordable social housing', not more executive homes.

Aerial view of the Hulton Estate in Bolton where Developer's Peel want to build a golf course to host the Ryder Cup.

Maxine filmed her opposition with John Hesketh, who died of cancer while opposing the scheme.

His widow Sandra Hesketh, is Secretary of HEART and has vowed to continue to fight the proposals, she said protecting this greenbelt was 'close to John's heart'.

Peel says the plans will create a thousand jobs and help regenerate Bolton by making it a world class sporting destination.

Richard Knight, Peel L&P said: "This project would deliver on levelling up... this is an estate closed to the community for 700 years and this is a great opportunity to open it up. This area needs investment and it's a great fit all round."

The multi million pound proposals are dependent on Peel winning the bid to host the Ryder cup in 2031 or 2035.

The shortlist for the English venue is now a two horse race - between the Bolton site and The London Club in Kent.

The Belfry which has hosted the Ryder Cup four times is no longer in the running.

Golf Pro Rick Shiels says bringing the Ryder Cup to Bolton is an 'eye watering' prospect

Local PGA Golf Professional and YouTuber Rick Shiels says the prospect of Bolton winning the bid is 'eye watering'.

He said it would be "huge if Hulton won the bid", adding it would be Bolton's 'Olympic Bid'.

"To have the Ryder Cup here would be incredible, I am a Bolton resident, to think one of biggest sporting events, coming here, it is mind blowing and would go down in history.

"It would be what Bolton is known for. It would bring so many new tourists to the area to come and stay and play the course. It would be incredible."

He says the area needs a 'championship, really well established' golf course, but the course has yet to be built.

Does Bolton, and Greater Manchester, need another golf course?

There are already a number of well established courses in and around Bolton and many have struggled for members, with courses reducing their green fees to attract more members.

There has been strong opposition from local residents who are concerned about the impact on the environment.

Opponents argue new homes and a golf course would add to 'already serious' traffic congestion and would endanger wildlife and destroy ancient trees.

Sandra Hesketh has vowed to continue fighting the development claiming it will be a white elephant

HEART dispute the claims this will provide a £1.6 billion pound boost to the local economy.

Sandra Hesketh, who is the Secretary of HEART said: "This area has been unspoiled for nearly 1000 years and they want to rip up 200 acres, they want to rip up 500 acres of hedgerow which provides habitat for protected animals which have never been disturbed.

"They say they will plant more new trees, than they plan to rip up, but it takes 20 years for trees to do their job."

"What about our lungs in the meantime?" she asks.

HEART do not believe the Ryder Cup will regenerate the local economy.

It said, "one tournament will be a white elephant, which Bolton Council will end up having to pay for, it is just a ruse to build executive houses."

HEART's latest campaign video

But developers say this is a huge opportunity to put Bolton on the world stage.

Peel argues, "It's in Bolton's hands to secure the biggest thing to happen in a generation. It will be a real boost for regeneration, jobs, health and well-being, real positives all round."

Bolton Council are set to decide whether or not to grant planning permission for the development at a special planning meeting on Thursday, 24 March.

Although the decision has been delayed several times before.

A group of around 50 protesters are expected to make their voices heard at the meeting.