CAMPAIGNERS are stepping up their fight against controversial plans for a "golf resort" in Hoylake with more than 10,000 signing a protest petition.

In December plans for the development - which would see an 18-hole championship course as well as a luxury hotel and housing estate built on the town's municipal golf course - moved a step closer to becoming a reality after the town hall gave developers the go-ahead to carry out planning and investigations on site.

Wirral Council said land earmarked for the scheme is in the Green Belt and it would have to pass the "very special circumstances" test if a future planning application is to be approved.

But there is mass opposition to the plans, led by the Stop Hoylake Golf Resort (SHGR) action group.

So far, an online petition has received over 5,000 signatures and 5000 paper signatures and the group said it has a further 6,000 names in total as well as hundreds of letters sent to local MPs.

A spokesman for the group told the Globe: "We have received massive support from people across the Wirral and our petition has now reached over 10,000 signatures on paper and online.

"The Hoylake Golf Resort will set a very dangerous precedent for building on Green Belt, a precedent which is now even more dangerous, since the council has revealed its proposals to release huge swathes of Green Belt land for development.

"These proposals will fundamentally change the nature of our beautiful peninsula.

"We are concerned that our council plan to spend £17m on roads for the resort.

"Furthermore we are concerned the council plans to lend £26m to the developer.

"The secretary of state has recently decided to 'call-in' a similar golf resort and housing estate proposal by the Peel Group in Bolton, and this again highlights the riskiness of the council continuing with this project.

"We call upon the council to abandon their golf resort plans and instead use those resources and money to develop housing that Wirral needs on brownfield sites first."

To sign the petition click the link below …

A council spokesman said: "These comments are not new. We have said time and again that this application will not be brought forward until all necessary studies and surveys have been completed.

"This scheme would be a flagship development which has the opportunity to create hundreds of jobs for local people and support businesses across the borough, as well as earning vital income for key local services."

The representative added: "It is crucial Wirral Council looks at how we can generate new income streams, making long term investments which will provide revenue into the future.

"A major new world class tourist attraction such as the proposed golf resort is one such measure which could help address year on year reductions in Government funding and continue to provide vital public services such as social care.

"The land earmarked for the proposed golf resort development remains in the Green Belt and it would have to pass the 'very special circumstances' test if a future planning application is to be approved.

"The council has been clear that the development of brownfield sites across the borough will be prioritised ahead of green belt locations under the Local Plan which is currently being consulted on."