Millwall have confirmed they have been holding behind-the-scenes talks with developers Renewal over trying to devise a compromise scheme for around The Den which would satisfy both sides.
The two boards have had a constructive series of meeting, also involving new Lewisham mayor Damien Egan, since he was elected in May in succession to Sir Steve Bullock.
The announcement signals a new rapprochement between the club and the developer, who had been at loggerheads since Renewal and Bullock tried to seize three pockets of land next to the stadium two years ago, using a compulsory purchase order – so that 2,400 homes could be built there.
But Millwall’s architects AFL, appointed in May, have drawn up new plans for an expansion of the stadium which could accommodate Premier League football, bigger crowds and a huge facelift for the area around it, with flats and shops.
It would be built on land currently leased by Millwall and the Millwall Community Trust from Lewisham council, the freeholder.
A statement today from Millwall said: “Those plans have been driven by two key considerations: the expansion of the business of the football club beyond just the 25 days a year when it hosts matches, and consideration of the requirements of the Premier League which have increased considerably over the past decade.
“Millwall is an ambitious Championship club and, after 25 years at The ‘New’ Den, needs to update and upgrade its facilities.
“Millwall’s advisers are engaging directly with Council officers to discuss planning considerations in more detail.”
Millwall chief executive Steve Kavanagh has had meetings in recent months with Renewal and Egan, plus Lewisham’s Interim Head of Planning, Viv Evans. The council has also hosted a workshop for architects and planners representing MFC and Renewal during which plans were reviewed and discussed.
Kavanagh said: “Constructive and productive dialogue has taken place over the past six months and I am pleased with the progress so far. Millwall is an ambitious club and we have exciting and dynamic plans for the stadium and adjoining land which will benefit both the club and the community and will secure a strong and stable future for Millwall in this borough.”
Egan said: “I want to thank Millwall Football Club and Renewal for what have been very positive and constructive conversations. I am pleased the council has been able to support these discussions so we can work out a way forward.
“I am committed to protecting Millwall Football Club’s future in the borough, building more genuinely affordable homes for local families and a new train station.”
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