RESIDENTS campaigning against a major housing development at a golf course are “hopeful” that the government inspector considering an appeal will not side with the developer.

A public inquiry into Peel’s plans to build 300 houses at Horwich Golf Club closed today after four days which saw seven witnesses present evidence.

The appellant put forward four witnesses while the council had two, discussing landscaping and planning.

Stocks Residents' Association has been given special "Rule 6 status" at the inquiry, allowing the group to make its own case in opposition to the development alongside Bolton Council.

Chairman Malcolm Harrison gave evidence at the hearing on Wednesday. He said: “We’ve done the best we can with the information we have available. We presented it in a very, very clear format and we’re mindful that the inspector seems to have taken great interest in our views. We’ve given it our best shot and hopefully we’ll get the right result."

Mr Harrison accused Peel of "feeding" new information at the last minute in order to address the arguments of the residents' association.

The developer, which owns the land at the Victoria Road site, insists that the golf club is not financially viable.

The club, which has run at a financial loss for the last decade, has been receiving annual payments from Peel since 2012 when it asked the developer to buy the site.

It can carry on operating as a tenant until 2023 when its lease finishes, although the tenancy could be terminated earlier in October 2020.

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Speaking on the last day of the public inquiry, Emery Planning's associate director, John Coxon, was asked what would happen to the site if the appeal is dismissed and the development does not go ahead.

He said: “I haven’t got any direct instructions, but it will continue to be promoted for housing. In terms of actual instruction on planning terms, it is hoped that this appeal will be allowed.

"The intention is to continue to promote the site for housing. There’s no other intention in relation to the golf club. [Peel] will seek to maintain the value of its asset.”

READ MORE: Pressure piling on Peel's plans at public inquiry into 300 houses at golf club

Bolton Council argued that the harm caused by the development in terms of its impact on the character of the area would be significant.

Peel's legal team, led by Giles Cannock QC, argued that the need for housing in the borough outweighs protections given to the open land.

Inspector Jonathan Felgate will make a decision in the coming months.