Lewisham Council’s Cabinet were told to “review” their decision to approve a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) of land Millwall uses by the Overview and Business Scrutiny Panel this week.
The panel backed the motion with seven votes in favour and one abstention on Tuesday night, meaning a fresh vote by the cabinet could happen within two weeks.
The panel chair, Councillor Alan Hall, said that it “was not in the public interest” to have the CPO go ahead, and that it should be “chucked out”.
He said: “It was quite a long meeting with Millwall, residents and Renewal having the chance to speak.
“In the end what was concerning is the lack of transparency and also the viability of Renewal being able to deliver the scheme.
“Renewal have no track record in delivering regeneration projects. Affordable housing is low and social housing is non-existent.
“At the moment the decision by the cabinet is not enforceable, and until they have had another look it will not be.
“Councillors agreed this was a difficult decision and that it should be looked at again.
“The lack of transparency was a major concern. We felt that a compelling case in the public interest was not made today.”
The move was welcomed by Millwalll’s Chairman John Berylson, who said it was “encouraging”.
He said: “We were encouraged that the committee added it had concerns over Renewal’s plans on the grounds of viability, deliverability, reputational risk to the Council and failure to meet the public interest tests for granting the CPOs.
“Millwall will continue to make its case to stop the CPOs and once again urges the Council to call off this process so the authority and Renewal can get back round the table with the Club, the residents and local businesses facing the threat of compulsory purchase.
“We fully support the regeneration but want to play a part in delivering it to protect the interests of the Club, our fans and the wider community.
“Even though we have gone into extra time, we call on Lewisham Council and Renewal to work with Millwall so we can develop the land leased to the Club and the Millwall Community Trust.
“However we want to reassure supporters that it is still business as usual at Millwall FC and this CPO process will not affect the day-to-day running of the Club or the Millwall Community Trust.
“This process will take a long time with a possible public inquiry and a final decision made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
“But hopefully after the decision by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Lewisham and Renewal will see sense and sit down with us to make this work for everyone.
“Finally we would like to thank the 26,000 people who signed the Defend Our Den petition and our local MPs Vicky Foxcroft and Neil Coyle who have supported Millwall’s case.”
Lewisham’s cabinet approved the CPO plans two weeks ago, which would see land used by the Millwall Community Trust and the car park bought by the council before being sold to Renewal as part of a 2,400 home development.
A council spokesman said: “The Overview and Scrutiny Business Panel have referred the matter back to Mayor and Cabinet for reconsideration.
“The Business Panel’s reasons for doing this will be reported to and considered by Mayor and Cabinet in due course and a final decision will then be taken.”
Jordana Malik, Director at Renewal, said: “We respect last night’s decision made by the Overview and Scrutiny Business Panel and we recognise this is part of the on-going CPO process.
“All issues raised by the committee have been comprehensively addressed in the report for the Mayor and Cabinet meeting on September 7.
“The Mayor and Cabinet were satisfied that the pre-conditions for compulsory purchase have been met and we are confident therefore, that the CPO process will be able to proceed.
“We have spent the last twelve years assembling the land required to progress the comprehensive development of this site, which will provide 2,400 new homes within the New Bermondsey Housing Zone; a new Overground station and bus routes; new public sports and community facilities, parks and squares; new bars, shops and restaurants and improvements to Millwall FC’s stadium – overall creating 2,000 jobs for local people.
“We are fully committed to bringing positive change to the area and remain focused on delivering one of the largest regeneration schemes in London for Lewisham.”