Lewisham Council has given the green light for an independent inquiry into a proposed land purchase and development of a sports facility around Millwall FC’s stadium.
The inquiry will begin in April and is expected to cost the taxpayer around £500,000. It will investigate claims by development company Renewal and local charity Surrey Canal Foundation Trust that they’re backing Sport England in their bid to secure £20million of funding for the development from the Mayor of London (as previously reported by EastLondonLines).
In a statement, Lewisham Council said: “We decided to establish an independent inquiry, and that it should be led by someone independent of all parties involved, with the authority to carry out the review in the rigorous, open-minded and unbiased manner that the public will expect.”
It had been previously proposed that the inquiry would seek to discover “whether the Council was misled by SCFT, Renewal”. It will also “consider statements made by Renewal/SCFT to the Council in relation to funding pledges from other sources and to establish whether those statements were misleading”, and review “The propriety or otherwise of the behaviour of all Members and officers involved in all stages of the process of consideration of the proposed CPO”.
Lord John Dyson, former head of civil judiciary in England and Wales, will lead the inquiry.
Plans for the purchase of the land had been dropped earlier this month, amid pressure from locals and supporters of Millwall FC, who believed that the development would threaten the community work undertaken by the club.
Supporters of Millwall are still enraged around the threat of eviction from their historic stadium, with users taking to Twitter this morning to show their frustration.
— Millwall 0 (@MillwallNil) March 21, 2017
@LewishamCouncil You really didn’t ‘decide’ though did you. You were forced to, due to the exposure of the corruption that has gone on.
— Dave Robertson (@DaveRobertson8) March 21, 2017