Readers split over potential of homes being built at Charlie Hurley Centre

Charlie Hurley's grandson Matt Titchen at the gates to Sunderland Football Club's former training ground The Charlie Hurley Centre, Whitburn.
Charlie Hurley's grandson Matt Titchen at the gates to Sunderland Football Club's former training ground The Charlie Hurley Centre, Whitburn.

The prospect of houses being built on a site named after one of Sunderland AFC’s greatest players is a 50-50 ball for readers.

The Gazette revealed last week that members of Whitburn Neighbourhood Forum are ready to fight any future plans to build on the site of the Charlie Hurley Centre, on Cleadon Lane.

I have lived in Whitburn all my life and development is good

Danielle Currer

The centre was formerly Sunderland AFC’s training ground, but has not been used by the club since it moved its training base to the Academy of Light 14 years ago.

The Black Cats have confirmed they are “exploring opportunities” with housing developer Storey Homes, who say they would be keen to build on the land despite the fact it is in the green belt.

While the neighbourhood forum have told of their opposition to any such plan, Gazette readers are not so set against it.

Posting on the Gazette’s Facebook page, Danielle Currer said it may be a good idea to build homes there.

She wrote: “Yes if they build another primary school to cope with more children in the area.

“There aren’t enough places now for the children who live here.

“I have lived in Whitburn all my life and development is good.”

Jennifer Bell had a similar view, adding: “Yes, why not? Why would they need to have their old training base when they have got that big one across the road? Plenty of room there for grass roots.”

Colin McDonald said: “Good idea.”

Robert Carrick added: “If it brings money into the club, why not?”

However, others were more sceptical.

Robert Orange posted: “It’s green belt. No chance of planning permission.”

Neil Barry wrote: “Ideal opportunity for Sunderland Football Club to invest in grass roots football and potentially uncover the future Jordan Hendersons!!! Their current situation is crying out for it NOT more houses.”

Victoria Gray added: “No, unless more primary and secondary school places are made available also.”

Members of Whitburn Neighbourhood Forum want the site to be brought back to community use, with children and residents given access to the land, and for it to be used for sport and leisure activities.

South Tyneside Council has confirmed that no planning application has yet been submitted for the land.

The facility is named after legendary former Sunderland defender Charlie Hurley, who is now 80.

Cork-born Charlie was once voted as the Black Cats’ Player of the Century, having spent 12 years at the club.