Negotiations on turning the desolate industrial area around Millwall’s ground, The Den, into flats have been held this week with progress reported on all sides.
But blocks on the first soil being dug remain, as the football club does not have a long lease on the stadium land.
Architects AFL released new images this week as Lewisham town hall chiefs held talks with the Lions’ board about plans to increase The Den’s capacity to 30,000 and make it ready for the Premier League. And the signs are that all sides are moving in the same direction.
Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan and projects head Viv Evans met with John Berylson, Demos Kouvaris and Steve Kavanagh on Monday for “constructive and productive” meeting.
This follows Egan and his cabinet last week formally adopting the planning document for the Surrey Canal Triangle area, which will be used to shape future planning applications in the area.
Its adoption formally triggered the dropping of the Conditional Land Sale Agreement (CLSA), which would have seen controversial Renewal being able to buy land currently leased to the club by Lewisham council. That also means the controversial compulsory purchase order (CPO) for three plots of land around the ground becomes redundant.
Work will now need to be done to replace both the CLSA and the CPO with new agreements which exclude the club but affect land owned by the council and other land Renewal need in order to deliver a comprehensive development.
The last hurdle may still prove significant. Steering the new joint plans from Millwall and Renewal could take year to steer through the process of obtaining planning permission and it might still then face a public inquiry if blocked by the Mayor of London – a process which is unlikely to take less than two years.
A Millwall statement said: “The conditional land sale agreement has been an obstacle to progress in the development of the Surrey Canal Triangle because it has hampered Millwall’s preparation of plans for the land around the stadium. Millwall Football Club is delighted that the land sale agreement is terminated.
“This opens the way for an urban regeneration project that can transform for the good this community. We look forward now to agreeing a new lease with Lewisham Council which enables us to develop new plans for the Football Club, its stadium, the adjoining land, our Community Trust and, ultimately, the whole community.”
Renewal currently has a public consultation on its masterplan.