Millwall CPO: Opposition to plans grows as Lewisham Labour councillors back motion against it

News Desk (06 September, 2016) Regeneration

Councillor James Walsh called the motion to oppose the move which will be decided on by the cabinet tonight

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Lewisham Council’s Labour cabinet is facing party division as a group of Labour councillors tabled and backed a motion opposing plans for a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to be made land around Millwall’s stadium.

Twenty-five out of 53 Labour councillors met last night to go over the CPO decision when Councillor James Walsh called a motion to oppose the move which will be decided on by the cabinet tomorrow.

Out the 25 that were present at the meeting, 22 backed the motion and three abstained.

If the CPO goes ahead, it would see the Den’s car park, land used by the Millwall Community Trust, and some other parts bought by the council.

Both the council and developers Renewal have spent twelve years purchasing land in north Lewisham in order to create a 2,400-home development.

Millwall are opposed to the proposals due to concerns over their long term plans for the area, and have drawn up their own plans for redevelopment.


MILLWALL’S MASTERPLAN

  • “Around 400 homes”
  • Safeguarding Lions Centre
  • Five towers at least eighteen storeys high
  • Artists’ workshops
  • Student accommodation

RENEWAL’S NEW BERMONDSEY

  • 2,400 homes
  • New ‘Surrey Canal’ London Overground station
  • Two new bus routes
  • Indoor sports centre
  • 2,000 jobs
  • Multi-faith centre
  • Hotel and conference centre
  • Health complex

The football club’s chairman, John Berylson, has recently appealed to the London Mayor Sadiq Khan to intervene in the matter by writing him a letter.

Part of the letter said: “This Wednesday, Lewisham’s Mayor and Cabinet will vote on whether to grant compulsory purchase powers to take land around The Den currently leased to Millwall and the MCT’s Lions Centre, and hand it to property developer Renewal, whose parent companies are registered offshore.

“This won’t just affect Millwall and the MCT. Local businesses and residents also face this threat. One woman, a talented sculptress, has been offered a tenth of the market rate by Renewal for her home.

“This is in spite of us offering to develop the land ourselves to create 400 residential properties, new homes for the MCT and the threatened local businesses and share the profits with the Council, within the planned Renewal New Bermondsey development.

“Sadly Renewal continues to refuse to work with us and the Council won’t consider our offer.

“So at this late stage, we would welcome your intervention to convince the Council to hold off on this costly CPO process, which could delay the much needed regeneration for up to two years, and get them to consider our plans.”

A CGI image showing Millwall's plan for land by The Den.

A CGI image showing Millwall’s plans for the land by The Den.

A campaign launched by the club called Defend Our Den has seen support from across the country, gathering more than 22,000 signatures on a petition and the approval of celebrities such as Gary Lineker.

A spokesperson for Renewal said: “Renewal has always been committed to working with Millwall Football Club, and appreciate they are an important part of the culture and community of the local area.

“We look forward to receiving firm proposals from them and trying to find a financial solution that helps safeguard the future of the Club and allows Renewal to proceed with the long awaited delivery of much needed homes and jobs.

“Renewal is committed, through the section 106 agreement, to providing circa £7m worth of direct benefits to the Club, creating a much improved and enjoyable experience for fans.”

A Lewisham Council spokesman said: “The Council has written to twenty or so leaseholders and freeholders giving them 28 days notice that we plan to take a decision about whether to make a compulsory purchase order (CPO) in respect of a proposed development at New Bermondsey at the Mayor and Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, September 7.

“Council officers have gathered all the evidence and produced a report that recommends a clear decision to the Mayor and Cabinet meeting.

“If a CPO is agreed, then subject to confirmation by the Secretary of State, it would facilitate the required land assembly for the proposed development by Renewal Group Limited.

“In 2012 they gained outline planning permission for their proposed scheme which includes, among other things, some 2,400 homes.

“When a CPO is under consideration, the interests of all parties are important – each of the owners of the outstanding freehold and leasehold interests in the area affected by a possible CPO are important in their own right.

“We are aware of facilitated discussions between Renewal and Millwall Football Club.  And while the parties have met, they have not, to date, reached any agreement.

“However, the absence of agreement to date does not mean that the Council should postpone its consideration of whether to make a CPO.”

To sign the petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/lewisham-council-defend-our-den-stop-millwall-land-sale-to-property-developers/u/17737352 


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