LI­ONS IN FIGHT FOR THEIR LAND

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By John Lyons

MILLWALL chair­man John Beryl­son has vowed to ‘fight all the way’ to safe­guard the club’s fu­ture as the spec­tre of com­pul­sory pur­chase orders hangs over them.

The Li­ons fear Lewisham Coun­cil will de­cide at a meet­ing on Wed­nes­day to grant CPOs to seize land cur­rently leased to the club around The Den – and then sell the free­hold of this land to prop­erty de­vel­oper Re­newal.

Re­newal have plan­ning per­mis­sion for a wider New Ber­mond­sey devel­op­ment to build 2,400 homes, a £40m sports com­plex, a mul­ti­faith cen­tre, a ho­tel, med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties, a con­fer­ence cen­tre and a new over­ground train sta­tion.

But Millwall want to de­velop their land them­selves and have been un­able to come to an agree­ment with Re­newal.

Agree­ment

In 2013, the League One club sub­mit­ted out­line £140m plans to build 400 homes, artist work­shops, stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion and a new home for the Millwall Com­mu­nity Trust on the land around The Den and of­fered to share the prof­its with Lewisham Coun­cil.

In a let­ter to fans in yes­ter­day’s match­day pro­gramme against Brad­ford City, Beryl­son (pic­tured be­low) said: “I have now in­structed our ad­vi­sors to draw up plans to seek plan­ning per­mis­sion so we can de­velop our land with the coun­cil. “Our ri­val plan, shown to the coun­cil in 2013, will not only fu­ture-proof Millwall and of­fer se­cu­rity to the sur­round­ing busi­nesses threat­ened by the com­pul­sory pur­chase orders but also pro­tect the Millwall Com­mu­nity Trust. “Our scheme guar­an­tees the fu­ture of the club at The Den and al­lows for ex­pan­sion should we gain pro­mo­tion. “We have as­sem­bled a world-class team of pro­fes­sion­als to help us de­liver it and we do not need to go cap in hand to banks as we have no need of ex­ter­nal fund­ing. It will not de­lay the rest of Re­newal’s devel­op­ment and we are ready to go.

Prof­its

“What’s more, we have of­fered to share any profit with the coun­cil. Re­newal have not. If the coun­cil grants use of com­pul­sory pur­chase pow­ers, I am com­mit­ted to fight­ing it all the way. I have to – for the sake of your club and its fu­ture at The Den, for our fans, and for our neigh­bours and friends.

“Do­ing so will con­sid­er­ably de­lay the much-needed re­gen­er­a­tion and cost the tax­payer money.

“So my mes­sage to Lewisham Coun­cil is sim­ple. Let’s take this into ex­tra-time, avoid the fi­nan­cial penal­ties and work to­gether to get a re­sult we can all be happy with.”

While the Li­ons sweat, fel­low Lon­don out­fit Brent­ford are much hap­pier af­ter Houn­slow Coun­cil com­pleted the CPO land ac­qui­si­tion for their pro­posed Brent­ford Com­mu­nity Sta­dium at Lionel Road South.

The Bees said: “This is a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone, and brings to a sat­is­fac­tory con­clu­sion an 18-month process to as­sem­ble the land nec­es­sary for the new sta­dium devel­op­ment.

“Be­fore any work can start on site, there are a num­ber of re­quire­ments that have to be ful­filled. We are work­ing hard with our de­vel­oper, Prime Place, to achieve these as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

VI­TAL: The land around The Den

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