Historic Hulton Park in Bolton is to be restored through the creation of a major new sporting venue and multi-facility community. Proposals include the establishment of an international championship-grade golf resort with a clubhouse and golfing academy, a luxury hotel with spa and conference facilities. A vibrant local centre with housing (including affordable homes), retail and health provision, a primary school and green spaces will also be created. A new link road and significant investment into the local highways network complete the development.

With the sporting venue expected to host world-class events like the Ryder Cup, attracting large crowds, and the hotel holding regular weddings and conferences, the impact of traffic emissions and noise sources associated with the development had to be carefully assessed.


Miller Goodall was brought into the Hulton Park project in 2017 by Peel Land and Property to work closely with Turley, a development and planning consultancy, and the traffic consultant for the project, i-Transport, to prepare the air quality and noise aspects of the planning application for the development.

This required a significant planning application, including a full environmental impact assessment and assessment of a several aspects of the development, including construction of the development and operation of a Ryder Cup event.

Acoustic Investigation

The acoustic investigation involved numerous and wide-ranging background noise surveys around the extensive site. A computer noise model was then developed, using data from proposed plant, traffic numbers and other sources. Issues arising not only from additional traffic but also plant, venue set-up and even grass cutting all had to be considered. We were able to predict the potential impact from all the various noise sources associated with the various aspects of the project and give recommendations for noise mitigation where necessary.

Air Quality Investigation

The air quality investigation included monitoring of levels of nitrogen dioxide within and around the estate. An air quality model was then developed, using data from predicted traffic flows and the monitoring data gathered. We were able to predict the potential impact of emissions from road traffic on local air quality during construction of the development, during the proposed Ryder Cup tournament and during normal conditions on local roads.

Action and Outcome

Two public inquiries into this development were held. The Secretary of State gave the initial planning application his seal of approval after they called in the application, subject to a restriction regarding the award of the Ryder Cup.

Improvements to the original scheme resulted in another planning application and a reassessment of the scheme. This was subject to another public inquiry in October 2022 for which Miller Goodall prepared evidence. The Secretary of State subsequently allowed the appeal and full planning permission was granted for the restoration and development of Hulton Park.

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