Regen blow will not sway John Berylson
Millwall Chairman John Berylson has reiterated that his determination to continue to build for the club's long-term future has not been in any way diminished by the news that Lewisham Council plans to hand over to a property developer key areas of land that are currently leased to the Club and to the Millwall Community Scheme Trust – and refuses to consult with the Club about the process.
He professed to be 'appalled and bewildered' that the long term future of the Club is being put at risk by Lewisham Council after being notified by the Council that the freehold of three areas of land surrounding The Den – the car park, a space behind the stadium and the site of the Millwall Community Scheme Trust’s Lions Centre – are being sold by the Council to developers Renewal Ltd.
The Club commissioned architects last year to draw up ambitious plans for the development of the three areas adjoining The Den. These plans were consistent with the Council’s overall scheme for the regeneration of the Surrey Canal Triangle which Millwall fully supports. The Football Club even offered safeguards to reassure the Council that the development around The Den would proceed within an agreed time frame.
But the Council refused to consider Millwall’s plans and declined to share the commercial information the Club would have required to make its own bid to buy the three parcels of land.
John Berylson is now urging Lewisham Council to come back to the negotiating table to consider Millwall’s plans for all three areas to ensure the continued success of the team in a rejuvenated Lewisham.
Millwall feels it is vital to secure these areas of land to:
• Ensure its long term future at The Den at the heart of the community.
• Guarantee non-football revenues to help see MFC through the inevitable ups and downs of a professional football club.
• Be given the opportunity to participate in the regeneration scheme by allowing the club to develop appropriately the land immediately surrounding the stadium.
• Give a flourishing community scheme new improved premises so that the Club can continue to support it.
However, the chairman also assured everyone connected with Millwall that he would not be deterred from seeing through his ambitious plans for the club and the team under Ian Holloway in spite of this apparent setback.
He added: "I have made our position clear to Lewisham Council and I am hopeful that we can have positive dialogue with them going forward so that our interests and that of the Community Trust will be recognised and protected.
I am determined that Millwall will continue to have a very bright future and will be playing football at The Den for many generations to come."