Housing plan for Charlie Hurley Centre site step closer after Sunderland AFC makes deal with bank
Sunderland Football Club has reached an agreement clearing the way for the sale of the former Charlie Hurley Centre to a developer.
And the Black Cats have agreed to use money from any sale to pay off part of their debts.
The club has previously confirmed that it is in talks about selling the land to developer Story Homes, subject to planning permission.
Now it has entered into an agreement with lender Security Benefit Corporation (SBC), which in August 2014 gave the club a £70million loan and £15million revolving credit facility – since reduced to £8million.
The loan was secured against the club’s assets – the Stadium of Light, Academy of Light and the Charlie Hurley Centre site.
The new agreement guarantees the proceeds of a sale will go towards paying off any outstanding debt, allowing SBC to give up its claim on the Whitburn site and clearing the way for Story Homes to go ahead with any development.
No decision on planning permission is likely to be made before 2020.
The posting at Companies House contains a letter from the club to Story Homes, confirming it has given up “all our rights” in relation to any sale and instructing it to “pay all monies now or at any time from the date of this notice due or owing to us under or by virtue of the Sale and Purchase Agreement” to SBC, as well one from Story Homes to SBC confirming it will pay “all sums due to the bank.
There are no dates for any sale of the land in the agreement and no prices mentioned.
SAFC and Story Homes confirmed they were in talks over the future of the site in May last year.
A club spokeswoman said: “We are exploring opportunities with Story Homes in relation to land in Whitburn owned by the club.
A spokeswoman for Story Homes said: “Story Homes is promoting the development of new homes on land north of Cleadon and land in Whitburn, which is owned by SAFC.
“At this stage, we are committed to discussions with the South Tyneside Council and the Whitburn Neighbourhood Forum in parallel to these parties progressing their emerging local plan and neighbourhood plan respectively.”
Whitburn Neighbourhood Forum wants the site brought back into community use, with children and residents able to access to the land and for it to be used for sport and leisure activities.