Potential Bolton Ryder Cup 2031 Venue Rejected

Local council rejects £200million plans to regenerate Hulton Park

How a regenerated Hulton Park would look
(Image credit: Peel)

 

Hopes of the Ryder Cup coming to Bolton in 2031 are in tatters after the local council threw out plans for the redevelopment of Hulton Park.

Peel L&P’s proposed £200million plans for the regeneration of Grade II-listed Hulton Park Estate included more than 1000 homes, a hotel and school, as well as a championship golf course. But that now looks dead in the water as Bolton Council’s planning committee voted 15-1 against the proposals, despite council officers recommending they approve them.

With only the new Hulton Park course and the London Club on the shortlist to be England’s hope to host the 2031 Ryder Cup, it now looks like the Kent course will be put forward by default. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is expected to select the preferred English venue in April with a host decision from the nominations across Europe expected from the DP World Tour due in July.

A spokesperson for Ryder Cup Europe said: “We have received considerable interest in staging future editions of the Ryder Cup from several countries and venues across Europe. Discussions with all interested parties will continue in the months ahead before any decision and announcement is made.”

Opposition to Peel’s plans had been growing, with wildlife and residents’ groups coming out in recent days urging the council to reject the plans. They feared that Peel were more interested in building houses on the green belt land, and even if the 2031 Ryder Cup bid was successful, they predicted the course wouldn’t survive long before being closed in favour of more houses being built on the land. One councillor suggested 90% of the public opposed the proposals and the lack of a bypass to cope with the extra traffic.

Peel had previously said that if the proposals didn’t receive planning permission at Thursday’s meeting, or if their new course wasn’t selected as the host for the 2031 Ryder Cup, it would shelve all plans completely. The developers, who claimed their proposals had strong public support at the meeting, said they will now consider if there is any way of continuing, or whether a whole alternative strategy is needed for the area.

Richard Knight, Director of Planning and Strategy at Peel L&P said: “We’re disappointed by this outcome. Bolton has quite possibly missed out on the biggest investment in its history. Bolton Council had approved the previous scheme and encouraged us to make positive changes. It has done a U-turn at the last hurdle. It is hard to comprehend, but evidently very localised opposition has taken priority over all of the potential benefits for Bolton.  

“Since 2018, we have worked hard with local residents and stakeholders in order to adapt our proposals to reflect the community’s aspirations for the site with less homes on green belt land and a range of facilities including a new school, health and wellbeing hub, public trails and transport improvements. We will now take the time to reflect on the decision and liaise with our partners to consider if there is any way the project can still be brought forward, or whether we now need to consider if there are alternative opportunities for restoring and bringing new life to Hulton Park.” 

Jeff Kimber
Jeff Kimber

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!