THE government has called in the decision to create a Ryder Cup golf course and more than 1,000 homes at Hulton Park for a public inquiry.

Despite Bolton Council's approval for the scheme, the planning application will be determined by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The public inquiry into the application by Peel Land and Property to build a Ryder Cup golf course and 1,036 homes in Hulton Park, a Grade II-listed estate will be chaired by a planning inspector and is expected to take place in six months’ time. Secretary of State James Brokenshire will make the final decision.

A Peel Land and Property spokesman said the company was disappointed and added: "We remain committed to our vision but as we have always said, the delay associated with call-in raises the risk of missing the programme to bid for and deliver the Ryder Cup in 2026. We need to discuss the situation with our partners and work out how we now move forward."

Bolton West MP Chris Green said that he was delighted with the decision. He said: “This isn’t just about protecting our already overflowing roads, schools and health service, but about protecting a piece of Bolton’s rich history.”

He praised the “passionate” campaign by Hulton Estate Area Residents Together (HEART who have been fighting the plans for over 18 months.

He said: “Having these proposals called in is a great victory for local people and I’ll wholeheartedly support them every step of the way to protect our precious green belt.”

The Conservative MP, together with Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, wrote to the Secretary of State to request a call-in for the Hulton Park application.

Ms Qureshi welcomed the news. She said: “Political parties must be set aside and it’s only right that the two of us should be working on it together.”

John Hesketh, chair of the HEART group, said that he was “overwhelmed with joy” when he found out about the decision. He said: “It means that the light at the end of the tunnel has just got even brighter.”

His wife, Sandra, secretary of HEART, said she had thought the chances of a public inquiry were very slim but said it was “the best of news”.

Only nine planning decisions have been called-in by the government so far this year. An application to demolish Formby Hall in Atherton was called-in by the Secretary of State in 2016, but Wigan Council’s decision stood.

Former chair of HEART Cllr David Chadwick said: “It’s the start of an uphill struggle to get the planning inspector to overturn the decision.”

Cllr Martyn Cox said that the size of the project and the national significance of hosting the Ryder Cup were not the only reasons behind the decision. He said: “The pressure that was exerted really brought it to the attention of the Secretary of State. It was the the strength of feeling and the vigour of the campaign.”

Peel Land and Property reaffirmed their belief that the proposal would deliver “enormous benefits”, restore a degraded heritage asset, create a new international golf venue and bring employment opportunities as well as much-needed housing. A Bolton Council spokesman said: “We welcome the Secretary of State’s interest in a prospective development in Bolton.”