An action group has said that a proposal submitted by the Nicklaus Joint Venture Group, with the backing of Celtic Manor and Jack Nicklaus himself, has the ulterior motif of pushing through unwanted, unaffordable housing.
Plans for the new Hoylake Resort, which is to be built upon the site of Hoylake Golf Club and across the road from the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, include a Celtic Manor branded hotel and spa, a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, a golf links academy and 150 executive homes.
The Stop Hoylake Golf Resort Action Group has been vocal in their opposition to the multi-million pound proposal from the outset.
“We believe this resort proposal is a smokescreen to enable the building of 160 houses and 40 apartments on the Green Belt,” Phil Simpson, chairman of the action group told UK Club Golfer.
“We think the council should instead be investing the money in regenerating urban areas and building infrastructure and affordable houses on Brownfield sites – such as the Wirral Waters dockland regeneration project which has planning permission for 13,000 houses.”
Wirral Council, who had previously agreed to invest £26 million into the scheme, recently voted to withdraw their financial support and SHGRAG say the money should be used to help existing courses in the area.
“Many of Wirral’s other golf clubs are already struggling. Indeed, the local council is currently in the process of off-loading some of its municipal courses into private management, as it can no longer afford to run them. It seems ludicrous to build a new municipal course as part of the resort when existing municipal courses are unviable.”
Following the council’s decision to withdraw from the development agreement, it came to light that penalty clauses ranging from between 15 to 20 million pounds had been written into the agreement, surprising both councilors and the public.
The NJVG have said they still had the appetite to deliver the scheme but are now searching for alternative funding options.