Millwall considering steps to protect long term interestsThe financial offer to Millwall for the change to its leases is disappointing and well below the club's expectations. Chairman John Berylson and Director Demos Kouvaris flew to London especially to attend the meeting with the Council in March, such is the importance they attach to this issue. Millwall Football Club is now carefully considering the steps that it should take to protect the long term interests of the club, its fans and its Community Scheme.
Millwall does not wish to relinquish its leases. It has always supported the regeneration plans for the Borough but expected to be permitted to develop the land adjoining The Den, on which it already holds leases, within the overall redevelopment plans for the Surrey Canal Triangle. The club is committed to remaining at The Den and needs to stabilise its long term financial position by generating non-football revenues which it could do by participating in the urban regeneration programme. Millwall has offered to share profits from its development of the adjoining land with the Council. But the Council says that only Renewal can deliver the project and declined to provide Millwall with the information that would have enabled the club to make an offer for the freeholds last Autumn.
Millwall will not comment in detail until its professional advisers have made a full assessment of the proposals. However, the football club is very unhappy that it has been kept waiting so long, having agreed with the Council on 14th March that it should receive a proposal within two weeks. The Council has made it clear in public that the sales of the freeholds around The Den to Renewal are conditional on new leases being agreed with Millwall Football Club and its Community Scheme which holds the lease to the Lions Centre. However, the Council has also stated that it will seek compulsory purchase orders to take back the leases if agreement cannot be reached.
On 25th April Millwall Football Club finally received a formal response from Lewisham Council following Millwall's meeting the Council on 14th March to discuss the leases held by Millwall on land adjoining The Den. The Council's response is in the form of a letter from Renewal, the private property developer that is hoping to acquire the freeholds of the disputed land, and a detailed letter from the Council's property advisers, GL Hearn, describing how Millwall's leases have been valued.