THE council leader said she "must have missed" a controversial line about a Ryder Cup golf course in the latest draft of the 20-year plan for homes, jobs and the environment.

Campaigners who oppose plans to build 1,036 homes and a golf course at Hulton Park fear that the line indicating "support" for the development will work against them.

The development was approved a year ago on the condition that the proposed golf course is chosen to host the Ryder Cup in 2026.

However, the plans were called in by the government and will be subject to a public inquiry in October.

The latest draft of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) does not suggest using Hulton Park for housing but mentions the green belt site elsewhere in the 1,134-page document.

It states: "The restoration of Hulton Park, and the provision of a Ryder Cup standard golf course and associated leisure and tourism facilities, will be supported."

Council leader Linda Thomas said that she did not realise the line was in the document because she was focusing on housing instead.

However, she said that the sentence is simply a council officer's interpretation of the decision made by planning committee last year, stressing that it was not done with malice.

She added: “Perhaps it would have been preferable if the actual wording of the application would have been used."

John Hesketh, chair of Hulton Estate Area Residents Together (HEART), raised his concerns to a council officer at a consultation event in Westhoughton last month.

He said: “I asked him why the golf course had been included in the draft and he said it’s been agreed by the council but that’s strictly untrue."

Mr Hesketh is worried that the line will affect the upcoming inquiry because planning inspectors have referenced drafts of the GMSF at other appeals.

The group has asked for the sentence to include the condition that the golf course will only go ahead if it is chosen for the 2026 tournament.

He added: “I think there’s a bit of deception going on there to sway the planning inspector."

The council said the reference to the restoration of Hulton Park is in line with the decision made by the planning committee and council officers are duty bound to support it.

A spokesman added: “Unlike the 2016 draft GMSF, the site is not identified for housing development in the GM Spatial Framework."

The public consultation on the 20-year masterplan on homes, jobs and the environment closes on Monday.