A FORMER Manchester City boss has described Bolton’s bid to host the Ryder Cup as a "critical moment" for world sport.

Garry Cook told a government-appointed inspector that UK Sport, Sport England and crucially, the PGA European Tour, "love" and "support" the vision to bring the international golf tournament to Hulton Park.

He compared the economic benefits of the proposed development to that of Manchester City’s investment in the deprived area that surrounds it which he oversaw as chief executive in 2008 when Sheikh Mansour bought the club.

Mr Cook, who also had a senior role at Nike, spoke in support of Peel L&P’s plans to build the championship grade golf course and more than 1,000 homes at a public inquiry on Thursday.

He said: “Hulton Park is the right place. It is an opportunity that is unique. I am confident with my conversations that the Ryder Cup being awarded to England for 2030 or 2034, but only if a package of commitment is put forward that meets the European Tour’s commercial and their venue and infrastructure requirements.

“Hulton Park could be that new North West world-class sports facility – but only of course, if planning permission is secured. Peel is the organisation that the European Tour have come to trust and rely upon for bringing to them a solution. They are uniquely placed to stand behind and deliver such an investment, bringing together the developers and all its constituents.”

The sports executive said he has attended meetings with sports bodies and political leaders as an independent consultant for a variety of clients.

He was paid by Peel L&P’s boss John Whittaker for a project on the branding of the company more than 18 months ago.

Mr Cook said that he is no longer retained by Peel L&P and stressed his personal “passion” for the project.

He added: “Manchester as a sporting brand is at an all-time high and it continues to grow ever stronger. My point is, a vision has to start somewhere, the impact is taken by everybody involved, but somebody has to take the lead, and somebody has to rally that support.

“I, for one, commend the Peel Group for getting us at least this far, for bringing us to this point which is in fact a critical moment, not only for Hulton, but also for England, Britain and the world of sport.”

But Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi offered a different view.

The Labour MP called for a “reality check”, casting doubt over the chances that the Ryder Cup would ever be hosted in Bolton.

She said: “There’s nothing more I want to see my town to become a city, my town to be on the world map. And the people of Bolton are brilliant people, hardworking people. But we also know the real world. And in the real world the kind of infrastructure you need for the Ryder Cup, it’s just not physically possible.”

Her comments were echoed by Westhoughton North and Chew Moor councillor Christine Wild.

The Conservative councillor described the 1,036 houses in the plan as the “sting in the tail” of the major development which she said looked “very desirable” when first proposed.

Ms Qureshi, who spoke at length about the impact the development would have on the area, said that residents do not believe that the existing highway network and proposed improvements such as a new link road, would be able to cope with the additional traffic, despite what authorities say.

The MP also told planning inspector Karen Ridge of the impact the development would have on parking, road safety and public transport.

She added: “The local schools here are already struggling massively – and the hospital. If this additional housing were created, that would push everything to breaking point.”

Russell Harris QC, representing Peel L&P quizzed Ms Qureshi on her knowledge of other golf courses in the country which she claimed could host the Ryder Cup instead.

He also asked whether she knew how much the developer is proposing to contribute towards education and health services after she described it as a “piddly” amount.

The developer said it would contribute £15m in Section 106 obligations for education, transport, recreation and other local benefits if the plans are approved.

This includes £5m for primary and secondary school places and a site for a new primary school.

Peel L&P’s claims its plans to transform the Hulton Park estate and host major golf tournaments have the potential to boost the local, regional and national economy by £1.2bn.