MAXINE Peake has described as ‘utter madness’ controversial plans to transform a historic park into a Ryder Cup golf course and housing estate.

The former Westhoughton High School pupil spoke out after proposals to develop Grade II-listed Hulton Park were recommended for approval by Bolton Council’s planning officers.

Campaigners against the proposals have vowed to turn out in force on Thursday when councillors sitting on the planning committee rule on the application submitted by Peel Land and Property.

In a statement, the actor said she was ‘appalled and saddened by the news’ that the application had been recommended for approval.

She said: “It seems utter madness to me fuelled by nothing more than greed. The effects on the environment and the residents of Westhoughton and the surrounding area will be catastrophic.

“There isn’t the infrastructure for the Ryder Cup — please don’t let them pull the wool with this empty promise.”

This is the second time Maxine has voiced her support Hulton Estate Area Residents (HEART) group , which is campaigning against the proposed development.

The award-winning actor grew-up around Hulton Park, helping out farmers and camping there as part of a youth group in her teens, and has described it as a ‘magical’ place and a timeless haven full of historic interest’.

Peel is hoping the golf course will host the Ryder Cup in 2026 and the development , which would also include 1,000 houses and a luxury hotel, would not be built if the bid failed, according to planning documents.

Sandra Hesketh from HEART said: “The decision on whether to approve the planning application for 1,061 houses and a championship golf course on the Grade II registered Hulton Park Estate has not yet taken place.

“Regardless of the advice of council officers, the democratically elected councillors sitting on the planning committee on Thursday will make their own minds up. They are the ones with the power. They will make their decision on the day by listening to all the arguments. Put your faith in them.”

She added that more than 1,000 objections to the plans have been lodged with Bolton Council.

Mrs Hesketh said: “It does not take a genius to work out what the public/residents want. “Restoration of this land can be achieved in other ways. One only has to look at the RHS Garden Bridgewater development in Worsley to take inspiration on how this rare heritage asset in Bolton could be sympathetically restored.If you feel strongly about your democratic rights turn up at 12.30 pm on Thursday at the town hall.” The planning committee will debate the application at 2pm.

Developers Peel say that the project will create a ‘new international sporting and tourism destination for Bolton and Greater Manchester’ and that the private estate has been in a ‘state of decline for around 100 years’.