Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock has dropped his support for a controversial Compulsory Purchase Order, which would involve an area around Millwall’s stadium, The Den, being sold to the off-shore developer, Renewal. He says he won’t be recommending it goes through.
Millwall FC and its supporters have been contesting the council’s redevelopment plans but now after a hard fought political battle, Millwall seems to have pulled a surprise win out of the bag.
Nick Hart from independent fan group Millwall AMS has been at the frontline of the fight, and although he and other Millwall fans welcomed the news, they did not want to “over-celebrate,” Hart said.
He added: “We do suspect a political ploy, because we’ve been calling for [Mayor Steve Bullock’s] resignation, and I think that this is partially a victory, but it also gives him ‘wiggle room’, let’s put it that way.”
Millwall FC and supporters have claimed the council’s redevelopment plans would pose a threat to the club’s community work and youth academy.
Lewisham Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chair Cllr. Allan Hall led the opposition to the CPO and the redevelopment plans. He said he was pleased the Mayor had issued a statement, and stressed the importance of an independent inquiry to look into the council’s handling of the issue.
He added: “If there’s an independent inquiry, it must be truly independent, and I think that means that the full council should have ownership of that inquiry.”
An independent review was subsequently announced in a statement on Lewisham Council’s website by the Chief Executive Barry Quirk. He said: “I am urgently putting arrangements in place to secure an independent external review. As soon as I am in a position I shall advise you of the terms of reference of that review and the name of the person conducting the review.”
Before the latest developments, Millwall had threatened that they would have leave Lewisham, if the CPO were to be approved by the council.
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