THE developer behind plans to bring the Ryder Cup to Bolton is "confident" that Hulton Park will be chosen to host the international golf tournament.

Peel L&P has said that behind-the-scenes conversations are well underway and that the host venues for 2030 and 2034 tournaments are expected to be announced early next year.

The property firm, which also wants to build 1,036 homes, a 142-bed hotel and conference facilities, have promised that work would not start on the development until the site is officially confirmed as the host venue for the Ryder Cup.

This comes as the government inquiry into plans for a major housing development championship-standard golf course started yesterday.

Planning director Richard Knight said Peel L&P has been in dialogue with the Professional Golfers' Association about its proposal for many years.

He said: “We wouldn’t be here investing so much, putting the company’s reputation at risk, if we didn’t believe that it could be delivered. We don’t know if there are other sites and options being considered. All we know is that nobody else has put something forward like this. This is a unique proposal."

Construction of the golf course would begin in late 2021, if the Secretary of State approves the plans following the public inquiry, and it would take three years to complete.

Representing the applicant, Russell Harris QC described the development as an "unrepeatable opportunity" in his opening statement to the government-appointed planning inspector.

He said that the proposal will result in £1.2bn of new investment, the majority of which will be in the region.

Speaking on behalf of the council, Matthew Dale-Harris said the local authority "strongly supports" the application which the committee approved last year before it was called in by the government.