WIRRAL Council is planning to spend an additional £600,000 on consultants and legal fees in order to progress its plans for a five-star golf resort at Hoylake.

And it has been revealed a "geotechincal" investigation also must be undertaken to test if the council-owned former landfill site at Greenbank Road can be safely used for a golf course..

The ruling Labour cabinet met on Monday morning to discuss making the extra expenditure - but deferred making a decision.

A report prepared for the meeting said an initial budget of £237,000 already has been "expended."

It said approval is now needed for "an additional fee and works budget of £595,969 to allow essential expertise to be retained to advise the council on a range of commercial, technical and legal aspects of the proposed development."

Council leader Cllr Phil Davies says in his foreword to the document: “‘This report will take our plans nearer reality by consulting a range of commercial, technical and legal experts who can help us draw up a blueprint and a process for moving forward.

"The Hoylake Golf Resort project supports the business category of the 2020 pledges and in particular the priority to create a vibrant tourism economy.

"It also links to the priorities to increase inward investment and create greater job opportunities in Wirral.

"I would like to reassure residents and all other interested parties that we will be continuing to consult and talk to people who live in Wirral to make sure that we are all move forward as partners in delivering these plans."

In July last year the authority agreed to appoint legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus as its preferred partner for the £195m scheme.

The proposed resort would see two new championship links built, including the only Nicklaus-designed municipal course in the country.

The plans also include a luxury hotel, conference centre and a golf academy.

Last week it was confirmed Celtic Manor – the company behind the South Wales luxury resort which hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup - is in detailed talks with Nicklaus's Joint Venture Group to manage the hotel and conference facilities.

Not everyone is in favour of the idea.

Hoylake councillor Gerry Ellis said: "When the plan for a golf resort was first announced, I thought it would be a wonderful idea, but they have spent £237,000 on consultancy fees and it's beyond belief that they are planning to spend more more money on consultancy fees.

"The golf resort idea is becoming a bit of a white elephant. It's too costly and I don't think it will go anywhere.

"I think that when the report is finally published it will show so many problems with the site that people will pull out of the scheme."