Wirral Council have promised to prioritise affordable housing after scrapping plans to invest £26m into a "millionaires’ golf course."

The Labour cabinet – who run the council as a minority administration – agreed it was £not the right time" to invest huge sums into the controversial development and said the money would be better spent on social and affordable housing.

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The plans, which aim to create a hotel, two golf courses and executive homes on a flood plain near Hoylake, have been the subject of borough-wide protests.

The move to pull the plug on the funding comes after Labour lost overall control of Wirral Council at May’s local elections – and council and group leader Phil Davies stepped down.

At a cabinet meeting today new Labour leader councillor Pat Hackett said his minority party had new priorities.

He said: “This council is determined to bring investment, jobs and prosperity to Wirral.

"That’s why major players like Celtic Manor and Redrow want to build here in the first place.

"This is a scheme which will create hundreds of new jobs and give the Hoylake high-street a huge boost.

“However, it is a massive investment for the council.

“We are a new leadership, with new priorities, and after much deliberation we’ve decided the money we would borrow to invest in this scheme would be better spent on securing affordable and social housing for the many residents who need it elsewhere in our borough.

“Therefore we won’t be investing in the Hoylake development.

"Instead we will immediately start work on a plan to increase social housing in our borough, meeting our pledge to deliver good quality housing for everyone who needs it, and will also move forward on developing an action-plan to provide real support to our struggling high-streets.”

Opposition parties have welcomed the decision – but not before blasting their rivals for considering the scheme in the first place.

Ian Lewis, leader of Wirral’s Conservative group, said: “The only reason for this decision is because they no longer have full control of the council.

"Three months ago, the same cabinet members who today said the financial scheme wasn’t right, were telling us it was.

“If Labour has £26m available for investment, it should be used to benefit some of the 9,000 families on the housing waiting list, not 160 houses for millionaires on our Green Belt.

“There are areas of Wirral crying out for investment and regeneration, the cabinet should now focus on the day job, instead of pursuing pipe dreams.”

Labour lost three of its seats to the Conservatives and Greens at May’s local elections, with green belt and the Hoylake golf resort being two of the key issues.

Wirral Lib Dem leader councillor Phil Gilchrist said it was time for the council to "make some progress" on people’s real needs.

He said: “The cabinet has come round, at last, to the idea that the money would be better spent on social and affordable housing, tackling brownfield sites, and securing regeneration.

"This is a welcome step.

"Now let’s see some progress on Wirral’s real needs. Let’s dust off the maps and lists and see what can be done and protect the Green Belt.”

Today’s meeting saw the cabinet agree to a recommendation that was made at a business scrutiny meeting earlier this month, which was held in private.

Members of the press and public were asked to leave before discussions took place, leading to criticism from members of "Stop the Hoylake Golf Resort" action group, who said the council needed to be more open and transparent about the plans.

While the cabinet’s decision may be widely welcomed, it does not mean the golf course won’t go ahead, as the council could still choose to grant planning permission to the developers if they press ahead with the scheme.