A major decision on Millwall’s future at The Den is about to be made.
Lewisham Council is due to meet at 6pm on Thursday, December 15 to reach a final conclusion on the compulsory purchase of land which encompasses the club’s stadium.
A report by officers recommends the Labour cabinet pushes through the order so the site can be redeveloped into a residential-led scheme.
Millwall have drawn up their own plans for the land around the stadium and said funds are available to make them a reality. But officers says they have not seen any documentation of this.
Instead they are backing plans by off-shore company Renewal, which has already been granted outline planning permission for the £1 billion project and acquired some of the land necessary.
Millwall chairman John Berylson has warned the club’s future is at risk if the land it leases becomes privately owned by Renewal.
And the council report states that “Renewal does not envisage any collaboration with MFC over the development” but wishes to “work towards a financial settlement with MFC”.
The cabinet already gave the CPO the green light on September 7 but two weeks later members of the Overview and Scrutiny Business Panel asked them to reconsider. It raised concerns about Renewal’s ability to deliver the scheme, the lack of transparency around the project, the impact on the council’s reputation and whether a CPO was in the pubic interest.
Renewal’s ownership has also been a point of contention. It remains a mystery but company documents show the firm was originally set up by previous Labour mayor, Dave Sullivan.
He has since resigned as a director and there is no evidence he is still involved with the developer. But chair of the scrutiny panel councillor Alan Hall has called on the council to formally deny Sullivan is involved in the scheme.
The report by officers refuses to reveal the identity of the people behind Renewal as it fears it would “result in a breach of data-protection legislation”.
It concludes there is a “compelling case in the public interest” for the compulsory purchase.
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