CAMPAIGNERS were "overwhelmed" by the council's decision to cut its support for the Hulton Park development at an upcoming government hearing.

Councillors voted for the town hall to spend as little as possible when it defends plans to build 1,036 homes and a Ryder Cup golf course.

The development, which was narrowly approved by the local planning authority, was called in by the government last summer.

Sandra Hesketh, secretary of Hulton Estate Area Residents Together, attended the meeting alongside nine other members of the group.

She said: "I was absolutely gob smacked that there was so much support. What a change from last March when they voted to go forward to go forward with it. What a change in political nous. So many people spoke up."

Council leader David Greenhalgh tabled the motion at a meeting on Wednesday night.

He said: "We as the new executive find it incongruous that council tax payers should pick up a hefty bill supporting an inquiry that has received such widespread opposition."

However, former planning chair, Cllr Hanif Darvesh, said the move "undermines" the committee as well as the judgement of professional planners. Conservative councillor Bob Allen agreed and abstained from voting.

Lib Dem councillor David Wilkinson said that overruling the previous decision was "reasonable".

Labour leader Linda Thomas, who has long opposed the development, voted to limit funds but warned against undermining officers.