More than two thirds of the visitors who attended last year’s public consultation sessions on plans for a new Hoylake Golf Resort have given it their support, Wirral council revealed today.
An outline of the plan to create two new golf courses, an academy, hotel complex and private housing was put on show to the public at sessions in Hoylake and West Kirby last November – with 660 of the visitors filling in feedback forms giving their reaction to the plan.
Today it was revealed that of those, 430 people gave either their full, qualified or reserved support to the plan. But 182 people, almost 30% of the respondents, said they did not support the proposal.
Concerns expressed included the fact that the 350 acre project would involve the use of a huge chunk of Green Belt land, and worries about the impact that it might have on existing public rights of way.
Positive comments on the forms included: “Good idea for Wirral residents particularly the younger generation” and
“High class development of this nature will benefit and raise the profile of the area”.
Cllr Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council, said: “Hoylake Golf Resort promises to bring new jobs, prosperity and tourists to Wirral, boosting our economy and visitor numbers. At £355m, tourism’s value to Wirral’s local economy is already huge and we have a plan to grow it by an extra £95m.”
The golf resort plan would see a new Jack Nicklaus signature championship standard golf course built on the site of the existing Hoylake municipal course, while the Nicklaus company would also design and create a new municipal course to replace the current one. Marriott Hotels are also partners in the project, and would deliver the hotel complex.
The proposed new golf resort is part of Wirral’s Growth Plan, launched last week. Wirral’s tourism economy has grown by 40% since 2009, making it the fastest growing in Liverpool City region, and the growth plan aims to increase visitor spend to £450m by 2020.
At last November’s informal drop-in sessions the council updated the public on initial concept designs and key elements of the project. Formal public consultations will follow once a planning application is submitted.
Cllr Davies said: “It’s been great to hear all the comments from the community on the outlined plans. Supporters of the scheme and those with concerns will still have plenty of opportunities to shape the proposals through further consultations still to come.”
The technical phase of the project will now begin, with a number of environmental and ecology surveys taking place over the coming year.
Once these have been completed the Joint Venture partnership will finalise designs for the Nicklaus resort. Residents will then have the chance to see the detailed plans and comment further prior to a full planning application being submitted, when there will be a further period of public consultation.
Concerns have already been expressed about the prospect of luxury private homes being built on Green Belt land as part of the project, with Wirral West Labour MP Margaret Greenwood having written to the council calling for more detailed information about this element of the scheme.