Lewisham abandons controversial Millwall stadium CPO

The London Borough of Lewisham has abandoned work on progressing a controversial compulsory purchase order (CPO) to enable the redevelopment of land around Millwall Football Club's Bermondsey stadium.

Millwall's 'The Den' stadium at South Bermondsey (pic: diamond geezer via Flickr)
Millwall's 'The Den' stadium at South Bermondsey (pic: diamond geezer via Flickr)

According to the council’s website, developer Renewal has been purchasing land around the stadium since 2004 and now owns most of the property required to undertake the redevelopment of the 10.74 hectare site.

Planning permissions already granted include 2,400 new homes, community sports facilities, health centre, new premises for a church, business space and studios and enhanced public realm. The site was designated as a Housing Zone in February 2015.

The council website claims that, whilst Renewal has assembled the majority for the land required for the project, it has not been able to reach agreement with the owners of a number of land interests and in September 2016 the council’s mayor and cabinet decided that a CPO should be made.

Since then, Millwall Football Club has claimed that the proposals could force it to move from the site and allegations have emerged in a national newspaper of impropriety around the development.

According to Planning's sister title, Third Sector magazine, the Charity Commission has opened a case into the sports charity at the heart of the proposals, the Surrey Canal Sports Foundation.

The council was due to meet to sign off the CPO next month but this has now been cancelled.

A statement issued on behalf of Lewisham Council’s cabinet said: "We have always been clear that Millwall needs to be at the heart of any development – we want the club’s future to be secure and the Millwall Community Trust must be able to continue its fantastic work in the local area.

"In the last few weeks, the new chief executive of Millwall Football Club, Steve Kavanagh, has identified new issues concerning the club, which the council is currently considering.

"Other issues have been raised in respect of the Surrey Canal Sports Foundation (SCSF). We are taking these issues seriously. The issues about the SCSF are now to be subject to an independent inquiry.

"The council is not now proceeding with any Compulsory Purchase Order on New Bermondsey. Any decision that the council may take in the future will be a wholly new decision".

The statement said that the council was "calling on all parties to engage constructively with each other in an attempt to find a workable solution"

"Regeneration in this area is essential. This is now an opportunity to find the best possible outcome for everyone concerned", it said.

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