English League One third-tier football club Millwall could be forced to leave its Den home stadium in south London and relocate, under controversial plans put forward by Lewisham council.
The council intends to purchase areas around The Den, formerly The New Den and the team’s home since 1993, and sell them off to an unnamed offshore developer. According to the Guardian newspaper, the CPO is set to be confirmed at a council meeting next week.
Although the plans have been known for some time, the football club has now said publicly for the first time that it may have to locate to a new home, although there is not yet any solid suggestion of a specific alternative site. The Den is close to the club’s previous ground, The Old Den, which was its home from 1910 to 1993.
In a statement issued to the newspaper, Millwall chief executive Steve Kavanagh said: “The chairman has always been determined that this would never happen, but under such circumstances any and every option would have to be considered to secure the football club and the Millwall Community Trust’s future as viable concerns.”
However, while the majority of council members are behind the plans, Alan Hall, chair of Lewisham’s own overview and scrutiny committee, had openly hit out at the CPO process.
The Liberal Democrat political party has also called for the plans to be scrapped, as Parliamentary spokesperson Bobby Dean said: “Millwall FC is the largest sporting asset Lewisham has and their future cannot be jeopardised by this luxury scheme with no regard to affordable housing. Lewisham should withdraw the plans and start again – this time properly involving the football club and local community.”