27,000 CRIES OF OUTRAGE MAY WIN RETHINK ON LIONS
LEWISHAM Council made a major miscalculation in attempting to snatch the land from beneath Millwall’s academy.
Clearly, they assumed that simply promising to protect The Den would be enough to ensure grovelling compliance from the club and minimum scrutiny from the media.
This week’s outcry must have come as a nasty shock.
The council plan to enforce a Compulsory Purchase Order, allowing the land around The Den to be bought by Renewal, an offshore development company with links to past and present councillors.
While The Den will remain untouched, its academy facilities will not and that potentially jeopardises the Lions’ Category 2 status.
It has prompted CEO Steve Kavanagh to admit that the entire club could be forced to move out of the borough.
A cabinet meeting expected to ratify the CPO has now been postponed on legal advice.
Lewisham Council now insist they have asked for extra information about Millwall’s academy.
Perhaps that is true. More likely, with their plans opposed by a 27,000-strong petition, a horde of local business and the media spotlight falling ever more intensely on exactly how and why Renewal won the contract, they have realised a PR disaster is looming.
It would be very surprising indeed if a face-saving compromise was not reached before the council’s cabinet members reconvene on February 8.