A CRUNCH decision on plans to build a £200million Ryder Cup style golf course in Bolton was delayed at the last minute today.

Councillors met at Bolton Town Hall at 2pm today intending to vote on whether or not to approve plans put forward by developers Peel L&P which would include a luxury golf course, more than 1,000 homes, a hotel on Hulton Park Estate.

But plans were thrown into chaos with the last minute submission of more than 50 pages of planning documents less than 24 hours before the critical vote was due to take place.

Cllr John Walsh, chairing the meeting, said: "You cannot be seen to be doing justice to all of the points made in those documents" when so many were received just 24 hours before the vote was taken."

He added: "We must be absolutely transparent and above reproach on this."

On being put to  a vote, the councillors in attendance voted unanimously to delay the decision, with both labour leader Cllr Nick Peel and Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Roger Hayes supporting the deferral.

But Cllr Hayes queried why this had taken place at the last minute and pointed out that many of the council members, officers and members of the public in attendance had been be inconvenienced, especially those who had had to take time off work.

Cllr Hayes said: "It's absolutely inexcusable that it should be submitted at such short notice, it is impossible how anyone is expected to read the volume of paperwork at such short notice."

Cllr Hayes says he hopes the documents will be made public later today.

He also said that he "has concerns" and doesn't like anything that "damages green belt land."

The plans had already proven to be controversial, with local residents concerned about the scale of the work to be undertaken.

Speaking after the meeting, Westhoughton South's Cllr Christopher Hill said: "Everyone I've spoken to was against it."

Turning to the cancelled vote, he added: "Loads of leaflets have been sent out, and people are concerned they won't be getting the same time off for the next one."

Cllr Derek Bullock also said there had been "significant strength of feeling" in the area against the plans.

Developers Peel L&P say they remain hopefully of seeing the scheme realised.

Director of Planning and Strategy Richard Knight said: “Given the importance of this project, we respect the Council’s decision to defer.

"The additional documents were from a number of parties and do not raise new issues but it’s right that people should have the opportunity to review them, so we support the Council’s decision and appreciate the time everyone has taken to attend today’s Committee.

“We have worked extremely hard to develop a scheme that responds positively to issues raised by Bolton residents whilst protecting and enhancing the locally valued historic Hulton Park Estate.

“Our proposals represent a unique opportunity for Bolton that will deliver lasting social and economic benefits for the local community.

"We look forward to making our case at the next Planning Committee meeting.”

A date has not yet been set for the next vote, but Cllr Walsh has confirmed that it must take place before the end of February.