BY TOBY PORTER
A 15-year battle by Millwall to develop land around its own ground looks to have been won after town hall leaders pulled a block to the multimillion-pound project.
The club’s stadium will get a facelift and ‘New Bermondsey’ will become a boom town amid plans for thousands of homes around The Den.
Lewisham council was last night due to scrap a condtional land sale agreement which effectively seized three plots around the arena and sold them cheaply to developer Renewal.
But 18 months of talks between all three sides were last night due to come to a climax, with Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan tearing up the land grab and telling the Lions they can build on the plots.
That allows Millwall chairman John Berylson to put up flats and shops in Zampa Road to “future-proof” the club – by giving it regular rental income which would cover its historic annual £5million losses.
It will also secure the future of the Millwall Community Trust, which runs millions of pounds’ worth of projects for schoolchildren in the area.
And the Lions’ Academy will retain its Category Two status, which means it gets an annual £300,000 grant and plays games against clubs such as Crystal Palace, Sheffield United, Leeds, QPR, Watford and Burnley.
A compulsory purchase agreement ousting Millwall from the three plots had been scrapped in January 2017 – but the compulsory landsale agreement was still in place, until last night.
Its scrapping had been one of the main stumbling blocks to progress in talks in trying to build around the ground in the so-called Surrey Canal Triangle.
Lewisham council now says all three parties “have agreed a new approach to enable their sites to come forward for housing and other development”.
A new land sale agreement was last night due to be put in place which excludes land leased by the football club and community trust.
A Lewisham council statement added: “This paves the way for an increase in much-needed social housing for Lewisham residents to be built on the site.”
Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan said: “I am delighted that we have all agreed a way forward to allow much-needed development on this site. It will bring jobs, housing and a new train station to an area currently under resourced.
“Over the past year, positive and constructive talks have been taking place between the council, Renewal and Millwall Football Club to agree a way forward. This week, I updated councillors on these discussions and next steps.
“This includes bringing a report to mayor and cabinet next week, seeking approval to terminate the Compulsory Land Sale Agreement and vary the Compulsory Purchase Order Indemnity Agreement to exclude the football club and community trust land.
“This will then pave the way for community consultation on development of the Surrey Canal Triangle site.
“The regeneration of the area is an exciting opportunity for Lewisham. Our priority is that it must deliver more social homes, a new train station and have community support.”
Millwall declined to comment until the confirmation last night of the termination of the landsale agreement.
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