We all have a huge part to play in the coming weeks and months
As mid-week fixtures go, heading to Lewisham Council to stop the CPOs at a Mayor and Cabinet meeting was never going to be easy.
In spite of 25,000 signing our Defend Our Den petition, having the support of our local MPs Vicky Foxcroft and Neil Coyle and the Lewisham Labour Group of councillors, the Cabinet decided to go against us.
After a debate lasting well over two hours, the Lewisham Cabinet voted in favour of giving the Council CPO powers.
6 voted for, 1 voted against and 1 abstained. The Cabinet member who backed us was New Cross Councillor Joe Dromey. He said there was no public interest in granting the CPO power, Renewal should have done more to reach an agreement with us and the amount of affordable housing they offered – 12%, of which only a quarter was capped at 60% of market rate – was far too low.
We also appreciated Councillor Brenda Dacres, also representing New Cross, who spoke out against the CPOs at the meeting along with resident Willow Winston.
So what happens next? Well, it's not over yet.
The Council will now spend the next few weeks assembling the relevant papers and drafting their CPO. It will then notify Millwall, the Millwall Community Trust and the 20 other businesses and residents effected that the process has begun.
Lewisham Council will then submit this draft CPO to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. It's likely, because it’s a contentious issue, that the minister will then appoint an inspector to head a public inquiry.
This inquiry will then allow Millwall and the others affected by the CPO to give evidence in public, along with the council and Renewal.
The inspector would then write a report and submit it to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. That minister will then make the final decision.
This whole process could last nine months before that report is submitted.
So it’s all to play for. In the meantime, nothing changes. The land The Den stands on is not affected and the Millwall Community Trust will continue to serve our community.
But as JB has said, we will fight on for the club, the MCT, the local businesses, the residents and the fans. The chairman is going nowhere and neither will we.
And we the fans, and that includes the staff, management and players, are going to play a huge part in the next stage of the campaign. Just look at how successful the Save Lewisham A & E campaign was when everyone from the club and local community worked together.
So we're one nil down from the away leg.
But it's all to play for in the next game.
Fan on the Board