English Championship football club Millwall has put forward plans to redevelop its home stadium in order to support its long-term ambition to gain promotion to the top-tier Premier League.
The club had been involved in a dispute with the local council regarding the land surrounding The Den, but Lewisham Council dropped the compulsory purchase order (CPO) in January 2017.
Millwall currently leases The Den, with Lewisham Council owning the freehold of the venue. The council had planned to build housing on land around the stadium.
The club had warned that it could leave the area had the CPO gone through.
However, the decision to drop the CPO has opened up the possibility for Millwall to expand the venue and has now appointed architects to draw up plans to build club community facilities on the land.
Steve Kavanagh, chief executive of Millwall, told BBC London that the club would not be able to win promotion without redeveloping The Den and is now working with the council on its plans.
“Last season when we got close to the play-offs we had a survey from the Premier League for facilities here,” Kavanagh said. “It was scary. It’s nowhere near what you require in the Premier League.
“We’re drawing up plans to see what this would be with the Premier League requirements and how this would cope.
“We’re showing that to the council and working to a pre-planning application so that we can clearly define what we need as a club.
“If the council know that and can see that and work with us so that we can deliver that, then we have a long-term future here.”
However, Kavanagh added: “Whilst the CPO has gone, our land still has been conditionally sold, the community scheme can’t invest and can’t develop.
“It (Millwall’s community scheme) is doing some fantastic work, it needs to be taken forward, but it can’t do that while the sword of Damocles is hanging over the top of it because this could come back.
“Until we have a clear path that can’t happen, then things are stuck, so we need to get that clear path to allow us to work with the council to really go forward, and that can be a fantastic future for us all.”