The identity of the "world renowned" developer behind the proposed luxury golf resort scheme close to the Royal Liverpool golf links is still being closely guarded because of confidential commercial negotiations, Wirral Council leader Phil Davies said today.

He said: "The developers think it is an exciting opportunity for them and they are very keen to do a deal.

"But it is a very complicated deal. We are negotiating with a number of land owners because the site is not owned by just one organisation.

"It is a complicated menu with different elements but the council is confident we can work our way through."

Councillor Davies said work on site would start "hopefully be at some point next year."

Hopes of releasing the name of the preferred developer at this year's Open Golf Championship at Royal Liverpool were dashed by the length of time taken by the complex negotiations for the venture.

The feasibility of the project was never an issue when earlier this year - despite the economic downturn of recent years - no fewer than 20 developers and investors expressed interest in joining forces with Wirral Council to develop a 285-acre site in Hoylake featuring a "signature" golf course, five star hotel and conference facilities.

Other leisure facilities such as water sports and pony trekking are also envisaged at an American style complex with water featuring strongly.

The local authority are planning a world-class golfing resort rivalling the best in the UK, with the aim of creating a tourist destination for both golfers and families.