A WIRRAL councillor has called for the planned Hoylake Golf Resort to be scrapped before any more tax-payers' money is spent on it.

The planned complex would be built on Hoylake's Municipal Golf Course and is a central part of the "Golf Coast" project.

The proposed scheme will see an 18-hole championship course - designed by American golf legend Jack Nicklaus - a luxury five-star Marriott hotel with health club and spa, new clubhouse and training academy.

Up to 150 luxury homes would be built around the perimeter.

And Nicklaus would also design a new public course alongside to replace the municipal.

Now ward councillor Gerry Ellis, who previously was in favour, says the loss of Green Belt, the town being unable to cope with increased traffic and "vague" ideas of an economic boost convinced him to change his mind.

An image showing proposed layout of Hoylake golf resort

He said: "Since it was first proposed about five years ago I have, as a Hoylake councillor, consistently supported the concept of a golf resort at Hoylake.

"But I have become increasingly concerned about the difficulties that the scheme will face and I have now come to a conclusion that it will not succeed in the foreseeable future and it should be dropped before any more of council tax-payers money is spent on it.

"Also I'm not happy with vague suggestions that the resort will provide a boost for Hoylake's economy."

Land that could be re-developed for the new course

In November the council staged a series of roadshows allowing visitors to examine the plans. However the shows drew criticism from some quarters as being of "little value."

Councillor Ellis echoed this view: "My doubts began to develop when we saw the disappointing and amateurish public consultation exhibition last November in which there was no meaningful detail and very little information to satisfy residents' and councillors' questions.

"In considering the many potential problems I am coming to the conclusion that they are not likely to be able to be overcome.

"I think that the current feasibility study will identify big problems with the control of flood levels in the area which would require unacceptably large public expenditure to control.

"I agree that some construction and operating jobs could be filled from our local labour force but these will be the lower paid positions and would be a fairly small number."

Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said: "It is disappointing to see Cllr Ellis’s hasty U-turn on this exciting project for Wirral.

"Cllr Ellis, a long-serving councillor, knows full well we are still in the early technical stages of this proposal.

"He also knows the council is unlikely to receive a formal planning proposal for this scheme until next year, and only then would a full public consultation take place.

"Far from being amateurish, the public meeting shared what information was available with residents in addition to material already made available online and through the media."

He added: "As we look for new ways to add to Wirral’s reputation as a wonderful place to live and visit, the attraction of a world-class golf resort, the addition of a Jack Nicklaus-designed municipal course and the ensuing benefits to the local economy are reasons we think this proposal is exciting and worthy of consideration.

"It increasingly seems Cllr Ellis is too quick to say ‘no’ and his dismissal of this scheme before it has even been presented to council will be a major disappointment to local residents and golf enthusiasts alike."

Hoylake householder John Hutchinson is among those concerned about the proposed resort's impact.

Earlier this year he set up an online forum allowing contributors to air their views on the £250m plan.

At the time he said: "At the consultation drop-in session over three afternoons in Hoylake and West Kirby, we learnt little of value.

"The resort has implications for flood-risk in Meols and Moreton, which was flooded in September 2015.

"It will also mean the loss of farmland, green belt, highly bio-diverse habitat systems and will lead to increased traffic in wards to the east of Hoylake, while no affordable homes will be built."