A week after Millwall dodged a controversial compulsory purchase order bid by Lewisham Council, the News can reveal the club’s very own plans for the area.
Both the council and developers Renewal, who have spent twelve years purchasing land surrounding in north Lewisham in order to create a 2,400-home development, had accused the club of failing to send any “detailed proposals” for the area’s regeneration scheme.
However, the club has now supplied the News with their concrete plans for the area directly surrounding the stadium, with proposals for housing and community schemes.
Millwall submitted these plans to the council in August 2013, even promising to beat the proportion of affordable housing offered in Renewal’s scheme. The club also have plans for Millwall Community Trust offices, the Millwall Café, the Lions Centre and “workshops for local artists and other facilities” surrounding the Den.
However, these £140m plans were not considered by Lewisham Council, who said they had not received a “planning application” or “detailed proposals”.
The report published prior to last week’s aborted CPO vote, which threatened land housing the club’s car park and the community Lions Centre, added: “Nor (despite being advised to do so) have they provided a business case and funding strategy which demonstrates how any such proposals can be carried out in a manner which fits in with and does not prejudice the wider Scheme, including from a viability perspective.”
The vote was postponed at the eleventh hour on February 17 after Millwall fans delivered a ‘Defend Our Den’ petition signed by 15,000 people and when, crucially, Lewisham were alerted to “circumstances of a person potentially affected.”
A spokesperson for Lewisham Council told the News on Tuesday night that they remained “absolutely committed” to the club.
They said: “That’s why the council secured legally-binding commitments that the development should include re-cladding of the Millwall stadium, the ability to increase crowd capacity should Millwall FC secure promotion to the Premier League, relocation of the community scheme within a new sports centre and improved transport connections for fans travelling to the stadium.
“We have been keen to ensure that the whole area of which Millwall stadium is part is regenerated in a comprehensive manner that enhances the whole community and provides lasting benefits to the area. We are now using this window of opportunity to see if there is anything more that can be done to get agreement between Millwall FC and the developer, Renewal.”
Renewal, however, were less impressed by the last-minute decision to reschedule the vote. Director Mark Taylor said: “We are disappointed that it has been necessary to postpone the decision regarding the compulsory purchase order. “Renewal has spent over ten years working with the council and other land owners to assemble the land necessary to progress the New Bermondsey scheme, which will deliver 2,400 new homes for Lewisham – within the New Bermondsey Housing Zone – as well as a range of other benefits, including a new Overground Station and community facilities for this part of inner London.
“Although we have been successful in securing the majority of land by agreement, and have held detailed discussions with the remaining land owners in an attempt to complete the assembly of the site, we believe a CPO is now necessary to ensure this important regeneration can be progressed.
“We have made every attempt to secure an agreement with Millwall FC for the land surrounding their stadium and have been clear throughout the process that our proposals would safeguard the club and deliver significant improvements to the external parts of the stadium and the land around it, as well as providing a new home for the Millwall Community Scheme. The CPO process is an important step forward in the delivery of the New Bermondsey scheme and we look forward to the Council making a decision in due course.”
- “Around 400 homes”
- Safe-guarding Lions Centre
- Five towers at least eighteen storeys high
- Artists’ workshops
- Student accommodation
RENEWAL’S NEW BERMONDSEY
- 2,400 homes,
- New ‘Surrey Canal’ London Overground station
- Two new bus routes
- Indoor sports centre
- 2,000 jobs
- Multi-faith centre
- Hotel and conference centre
- Health complex