English Championship football club Millwall is close to agreeing a deal to remain at The Den, its home for the past 25 years, according to The Guardian.
The UK newspaper reported that the club has held “productive discussions” with Lewisham Council, which owns the freehold of the venue, and is now planning on developing the stadium and nearby land.
Millwall had been involved in a dispute with Lewisham Council regarding the land surrounding The Den, but the council dropped a compulsory purchase order (CPO) in January 2017.
The council had planned on building housing on land around the stadium and the club warned that it could leave the area had the CPO gone through. The decision by the council to drop the CPO has opened up the possibility for Millwall to expand The Den, which has a capacity of 20,000.
The Guardian notes that Lewisham Council, under the leadership of new Labour mayor Damien Egan, is committed to keeping Millwall at The Den. The report added that while plans are at an early stage, a proposal has outlined an arrangement whereby Millwall retains the land and puts forward its own transformation plans.
Egan told The Guardian: “I am very grateful to Millwall FC and Renewal (the developer that had been interested in regenerating the land around the stadium) for joining me in what have been constructive and productive meetings over the past six months. There is still work to do but I am pleased that we seem to be making progress towards our goal of bringing forward a development that has the support of our community.”
A spokesman for the Association of Millwall Supporters added: “We are very pleased that the new mayor, Damien Egan, has shown the leadership to have productive talks with both the club and Renewal. To have come this far so quickly suggests what was previously missing was a willingness to compromise and the expertise to make a plan work for everyone. We remain cautious but are hopeful this could mean Millwall will be able to play a part in the development of its historical home and secure its future in south London.”