COUNCIL MAULED BY THE ROARING LIONS...
GREEDY Lewisham Council thought they could bully Millwall out of The Den. They treated the pleas of residents and local businesses like a patronising parent dismissing a whining child.
Contemptuous. Arrogant. Determined to push through a lucrative land-grab. They thought power gave them licence to treat the public they serve with disdain.
An empty insistence on Millwall being “at the heart of the community” while preparing to cut the club off at the knees by evicting its Community Trust was bad enough.
But nothing sums up their derisory attitude like the offer made to artist Willow Winston, who was told to accept £58,000 for her 700 sq ft studio or face eviction. As the 72-year-old said, sixty grand on the open market wouldn’t even buy a garage in London.
How foolish those councillors look now, forced into a humiliating climbdown by the tireless efforts of those who refused to be trampled.
Councillor Alan Hall, a lone dissenter, stood up to huge internal pressure and the Association of Millwall Supporters group weaponised social media to great effect. Barney Ronay, the
Guardian journalist, unearthed dubious links between developer Renewal and the council who’d handed them a bumper contract.
“It is my view that the Compulsory Purchase Order should not proceed and that all parties should enter discussions to identify an agreed way to achieve the regeneration of this area,” said mayor Steve Bullock, who had previously stayed silent due to a conflict of interest.
Three things are now essential. A genuinely independent inquiry, a vote to terminate any threat of a CPO on the land around Millwall’s stadium and, finally, some kind of formal recognition for those who have fought so fiercely for the club.