Lewisham Council's Cabinet set to meet
Millwall chairman John Berylson has issued the following statement regarding the regeneration:
"Next Wednesday Lewisham Council's Cabinet will make a decision that could decide the future of this club and the Millwall Community Trust.
Lewisham Council wants to seek compulsory purchase powers to take the land we lease around our stadium and sell it to property company Renewal.
As you'll know, we have resisted their attempts because we want to be an active participant in the regeneration of New Bermondsey and not just shout from the sidelines.
Last February, thanks to the 20,000 who signed the Defend Our Den petition, the decision was delayed so an independent consultant could try to see if we could come to an agreement with Renewal. Lewisham's Cabinet also accepted our request to visit The Den and see the great work the Millwall Community Trust does at the neighbouring Lions Centre.
The MCT, which was founded by the club, has served many thousands of disadvantaged young people; indeed, its excellent work and value to the community was recently noted in an independent report. It was calculated that last year alone the MCT's work delivered a minimum cost saving of more than £7m to local communities. The MCT's very future is threatened by this.
Sadly the talks came to nothing as Renewal refused to even consider Millwall as a partner. They just wanted to seize our land - pure and simple.
So I have now instructed our advisors to draw up plans to seek planning permission so we can develop our land with the Council. Our rival plan, shown to the Council in 2013, will not only futureproof Millwall and offer security to the surrounding businesses threatened by the compulsory purchase orders but also protect the Millwall Community Trust.
Our excellent scheme was prepared by the leading architect, Ken Mackay, which fits in with and complements the scheme prepared by Renewal for the rest of New Bermondsey.
It guarantees the future of the club at The Den and allows for expansion should we gain promotion. It meets all modern health, safety and security requirements. It provides free accommodation and facilities to the MCT, it offers space on reasonable terms to the Millwall Cafe, Zampa Fish and the Rollins Street residents.
We have assembled a world-class team of professionals to help us deliver it, we have suggested a series of legally-binding guarantees to the Council that will assure our performance, we do not need to go cap in hand to banks as we have no need of external funding, it will not delay the rest of Renewal's development and we are ready to go. What's more, we have offered to share any profit with the Council. Renewal have not.
If the Council grants use of compulsory purchase powers, I am committed to fighting it all the way. I have to - for the sake of your club and its future at The Den, for our fans, and for our neighbours and friends. Doing so will considerably delay the much needed regeneration and cost the taxpayer money.
So my message to Lewisham Council is simple.
Let's take this into extra-time, avoid the financial penalties and work together to get a result we can all be happy with.
You can help us by going to defendourden.com
where you'll be able to sign the petition and email the members of Lewisham Cabinet to do the right thing."
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