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Millwall Chairman urges Mayor of London to safeguard the Club's future

6 September 2016

Local residents and businesses, including the Millwall Café, also face threat from CPOs

Millwall Chairman John Berylson has called on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to make a last minute intervention to stop Lewisham Council getting compulsory purchase orders to seize land leased to the Club around The Den and the Millwall Community Trust's Lions Centre.

The CPO decision could harm the Club and the Millwall Community Trust – an organisation founded by the Club whose work has served many thousands of disadvantaged young people within the community.

The MCT also receives funding from MOPAC – the Mayor of London's Office for Policing And Crime.

If Lewisham Council's Mayor and Cabinet decide this Wednesday (7th September) to grant the powers, Berylson said the move 'could decide the future of this Club'.

But last night (Monday 5th September) Lewisham Labour Group Councillors staged a remarkable rebellion against their own Mayor and Cabinet by passing a motion calling on them to stop the CPOs.

Twenty-two backed the motion, three abstained and none opposed it. Former Lions favourite Tim Cahill has pledged his support to the Club, as has TV personality Gary Lineker, tweeted 'Defend The Den' to his five million followers.

A 'Defend Our Den' petition, started by Millwall's Fan On The Board Peter Garston, already has more than 22,000 signatures calling on Lewisham to stop the sell-off and allow the Club to redevelop the area with its own plans for 400 homes, a new home for the Millwall Community Trust and local businesses.

Lewisham Council wants to sell the freeholds of three areas of land around The Den land to a property developer Renewal, whose parent companies are registered offshore.

This was in spite of Millwall submitting outline £140m plans in 2013 to build 400 homes, artist workshops, student accommodation and a new home for the MCT on the land around The Den and offering to share the profits with Lewisham Council.

Lewisham's Mayor and Cabinet delayed making a decision in February 2016 and appointed an advisor to find a solution. But Renewal, who have planning permission for the wider New Bermondsey development to build 2,400 homes, a £40m sports complex, a multi-faith centre, a hotel, medical facilities, a conference centre and a new Overground train station, refused to let Millwall develop its own land.

Furthermore, local residents and businesses, including the local Millwall Café, also face the threat from the CPOs including having their assets seized as derisory private settlements have been offered by Renewal and no deals have been agreed.

In a letter to Sadiq Khan, Lions Chairman Berylson highlights that the previous Mayor of London visited the MCT's Lions Centre and saw the scheme's good work for himself. The Chairman warns Mr Khan he may never get to see that work if the CPOs are granted.

Sign the Defend Our Den petition here

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