Millwall still ready to quit The Den over land grab

Millwall are still threatening to leave Lewisham borough after an independent inquiry exonerated the borough of any wrongdoing in trying to seize land around the club’s stadium.
Lions chairman John Berylson wants to “futureproof” the club by developing in three pockets of land around The Den and having a regular income stream from rent.
But town hall chiefs wanted to force him to hand the land over to developers Renewal to build 2,400 homes and a leisure centre, Energise – and the firm says the regeneration will not happen if it cannot have the plots.
But a statement today from Millwall said: “We continue to consider all options, one of which has to be the possible departure of Millwall
Football Club and its community scheme from this borough.
“That is not our preferred route, but one that we may be forced to seriously consider should the club continue to be subjected to
hostile acts by our local Labour council and not be in control of its immediate neighbourhood.
“There are suggestions that Lewisham Council may revive its attempts to use compulsory purchase powers to seize the Millwall land around The Den.
“Millwall would strongly oppose such a move and will seek to persuade the council that there are other options for developing the
site to the ultimate benefit of the community and without further protracted and acrimonious battles. A CPO inquiry would further delay any development.”
The club is also fuming at some “errors” in the report and that some sensitive information was included in the published details.
The full Millwall statement said: “Millwall will defer public comment on Lord Dyson’s report because Chairman John Berylson
intends to write Lord Dyson by early next week. In his letter, Mr Berylson intends to highlight some errors of fact in the report, apparent omissions of evidence that MFC provided, disagreement with some of the conclusions reached by Lord Dyson, especially given the evidence that Lord Dyson presents in his report.
“Mr. Berylson will also express his dismay that certain sensitive information has been put in the public domain without prior discussion or agreement.
“In the meantime, Millwall is keen to initiate the debate into what should happen next with the potential development of New Bermondsey.
There are suggestions that Lewisham Council may revive its attempts to use compulsory purchase powers to seize the Millwall land around The Den.
“Millwall would strongly oppose such a move and will seek to persuade the Council that there are other options for developing the site to the ultimate benefit of the community and without further protracted and acrimonious battles. A CPO inquiry would further delay any development.
“Lord Dyson has made it clear in his report that ‘there is a political dimension to this decision. That is why, as we have seen, opponents of Renewal canvassed so strongly the issue of the reputational damage
that the Council might suffer if Renewal were permitted to carry out the development. It is not for me to express a view about the morality or political wisdom or desirability of allowing Renewal to carry out the development. That would clearly be outside my terms of reference.’
“Political dimensions and morality are central to the debate. They cannot and must not be ignored. Councillor Damien Egan, recently elected as Labour’s candidate for Mayor in next year’s elections, has publicly declared his opposition to the CPO process and to the sale of the Millwall freeholds. Three of the four other mayoral candidates shared that view.
“We continue to consider all options. One of which has to be the possible departure of Millwall Football Club and its community scheme from this borough. That is not our preferred route, but
one that we may be forced to seriously consider should the Club continue to be subjected to hostile acts by our local Labour council and not be in control of its immediate neighbourhood.
“Meanwhile, we remain focused on success on the pitch. We are continually grateful to our loyal fans and to the many members of the community who have supported us so far.”


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