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John Whittaker Tries To Personally Dig £240M Ryder Cup Golf Course Out Of The Rough


Peel Group Chairman John Whittaker has taken the unusual step of personally intervening to support his company's controversial plans for a £240M Ryder Cup-standard golf course in Bolton.

The application, which goes before Bolton council planners next week, is for restoration of Hulton Hall, including an 18-hole golf course and 142-bed hotel, along with outline permission for 1,036 new homes and a local district centre on a 170-acre site.

Whittaker has not intervened on a Peel planning application since the development of the Trafford Centre in the early 1990s.

“Our ambition, working alongside a wide range of partners, is for Hulton Park to host the Ryder Cup — one of the world’s biggest sporting events. A spectacle on this scale would showcase Bolton on a global stage and cement Greater Manchester’s position as the sporting capital of the U.K.,” Whittaker said.

“At Hulton Park, we want to create a new model for sustainable golf and tourism facilities. Rescuing it from decay is an amazing chance to invest in the future, creating new opportunities for young people and a positive legacy for future generations.”

England Golf supports the 7,400-yard, 72-par plan, which focuses on winning the Ryder Cup in 2026. There would be room for 337,000 spectators over six days, worth about £34M in tourist spending and knock-on benefits.

Consultants have concluded the golf course and housing combined would not make it viable to require affordable housing in the way Bolton's policies require.

Local objections have been numerous and conservation bodies — such as the Woodland Trust and the Ancient Tree Forum — have objected strongly. Planning consultant Turley suggests there are "very special" circumstances which justify any damage to green belt.

Cushman & Wakefield are advising. Architects are Leach Rhodes Walker.