Children's football club fears losing home under plans to demolish South Shields school
They have called for clarity over the imminent demolition of Temple Park Junior School, at Whiteleas - the location of their homes games for over 20 years.
Around 150 under-18s play competitively across nine teams for Whiteleas Juniors Football Club at the Manet Gardens site.
Yet officials say they have been left stunned by South Tyneside Council decision to start bulldozing the derelict school, next month.
Last week planners gave the go-ahead after finding the proposal had been adequately publicised locally – and work is expected to start on February 12.
But Julie Hogg, who organises the club’s teams, said the decision had come out of the blue and fears players may have to find a new ground.
Julie, 52, of Sandalwood, Holder House Estate, Whiteleas, whose grandson plays for the club, said: “This has come as a great shock to us.
“We play here most Saturday and Sundays during the season, and yet we had neither seen not heard anything about this.
“Although it is the school building that is being demolished, we don’t know where that leads us in terms of playing on its fields.
“We’ve played here for well over 20 years, but now we are worried we will have to find another ground.”
She added: “Our teams have games planned on the three pitches here until May, so it is important that we are told quickly what is happening.
“We have started to look at possible alternative locations in South Tyneside but there’s nowhere as good as here.
“Although the fence around the field isn’t up to much, at least it offers some shelter and enclosure, unlike most other places.”
A report said the council had fulfilled a legal requirement to publicise their plans which included the erecting of an appropriate site notice.
The council says the building is surplus to requirements, is in a poor state of repair and is targeted by vandals.
Demolition work is expected to last until the last week in March.
Afterwards, the site of the former building is expected to be restored and levelled by adding top soil and grass.
A council spokesman said: “As part of the application process, a site notice was displayed for 21 days.
“Once start and completion dates for the demolition have been confirmed, we will liaise with the football club to discuss access arrangements while the demolition is underway.”