A 15-year battle by Millwall to develop land around its own ground looks to have been won after town hall leaders dumped a block to the multi-million pound project.
The club’s stadium will get a facelift and “New Bermondsey” become a boom town amid plans for thousands of homes around The Den.
Lewisham council has scrapped a conditional landsale agreement which had effecitvely seized three plots around the arena and sold them cheaply to developer Renewal.
But 18 months of talks between all three sides were last night due to come to a climax, with Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan tearing up the land grab and telling the Lions they can build on the plots.
That allows Millwall chairman John Berylson to put up flats and shops in Zampa Road to “futureproof” the club – by giving it regular rental income which would cover its historic annual £5million losses.
It will also secure the future of the Millwall Community Trust, which runs millions of pounds’ worth of projects for school children in the area.
It will also will ensure the Lions’ Academy can retain its Category Two status, which means it gets an annual £300,000 grant and plays games against big clubs like Crystal Palace, Sheffield United, Leeds, QPR, Watford and Burnley.
A compulsory purchase order ousting Millwall from the three plots had been scrapped in January 2017 – but the condtional landsale agreement was still in place until last night. It’s scrapping had been one of the main stumbling blocks to progress in talks in trying to build around the ground in the so-called Surrey Canal Triangle.
Lewisham now say all three parties “have agreed a new approach to enable their sites to come forward for housing and other development.”
A new land sale agreemnt was last night due to be put in place which excludes land leased by the football club and community trust.
A Lewisham statement added: “This paves the way for an increase in much needed social housing for Lewisham residents to be built on the site. “
The Mayor for Lewisham Damien Egan said: ‘I am delighted that we have all agreed a way forward to allow much-needed development on this site. It will bring jobs, housing and a new train station to an area currently under resourced. Over the past year, positive and constructive talks have been taking place between the Council, Renewal and Millwall Football Club to agree a way forward.
“I updated councillors on these discussions and next steps. This includes bringing a report to Mayor and Cabinet today (10 October) seeking approval to terminate the Compulsory Land Sale Agreement and vary the Compulsory Purchase Order Indemnity Agreement to exclude the football club and community trust land. This will then pave the way for community consultation on development of the Surrey Canal Triangle site.
“The regeneration of the area is an exciting opportunity for Lewisham. Our priority is that it must deliver more social homes, a new train station and have community support.”
A statement from Millwall said: “Millwall Football Club warmly welcomes the announcement by Lewisham Council that it will terminate the conditional land sale agreement that exists between the Council and Renewal.
“This agreement was concluded in December 2013 and provided for the sale by Lewisham to Renewal of the freeholds of the land adjoining Millwall’s stadium. The agreement in effect inhibited Millwall from proceeding with its plans for the development of the land it leases.
“Millwall equally welcomes the announcement by Lewisham Council that the leases owned by the football club and its community scheme will be varied to allow Millwall to prepare development plans for the land around The Den.”
A spokesperson for Renewal said: “Renewal welcomes the decision from the Mayor and Cabinet which opens a new chapter for New Bermondsey. Continued joint co-operation will result in much needed new homes for London including an increased number of affordable homes. It will also enable Renewal to finalise plans with TfL for the delivery of the new station as well as the commencement of construction of phase 1 of the scheme”
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