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Millwall need to box clever as CPO inquiry conclusions announced

The independent inquiry on the New Bermondsey regeneration scheme has merely called a temporary truce on the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) hanging over Millwall Football Club.

With Lewisham Council this week neither confirming nor denying that they will seek a fresh CPO, you have to worry.

Millwall Chairman John Berylson could not have put it more clearly when he was quoted as saying: “The fact is if you’re a renter and your landlord wants you to go, you’re probably going to end up going. You can’t be some place where your landlord wants you gone.”

Read the story: Independent inquiry clears Lewisham Council of wrongdoing

But 107 years in Bermondsey and one of the last bastions of the area’s rich docking and working class history means there is much at stake here.

As the trenches were dug and battle lines drawn earlier this year it was clear that even within Lewisham’s own cabinet there were doubters. Most of the mayoral hopefuls there are not supporters of moving Millwall.

But Millwall will have to box clever.

The fact there was an independent inquiry, led by former Supreme Court judge Lord Dyson, proves that Millwall and its battle-hardened supporters won the moral high ground. The inquiry did not have all the powers that Millwall would have wanted, it is independent but not a public inquiry with judicial force. Whether it was able to dig deep enough will still be open for debate.

The council is calling for all parties to work together, so Millwall may have more of a hand to deal now, given what’s happened. It wouldn’t necessarily go straight to a CPO again.

Millwall have had more time to draw up a plan that will deliver more of what Renewal was offering and will be safe in the knowledge that most local people do not want them to join the mass exodus of generations of our community being priced out to Kent.


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