The fight for The Den: are Millwall on their way out of South Bermondsey?

Millwall FC

Questions as to whether or not Millwall will be forced to look for a new home have again been raised, after a report from retired judge Lord Dyson.

The report looked into whether or not Lewisham council were guilty of any wrongdoings during their recent abandoned plans to evict Millwall from their land around The Den by Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO). The retired judge, Lord Dyson, cleared the council of “any impropriety,” stating that the council “behaved with propriety, due diligence and in accordance with the applicable codes of practice.” 

The findings of the report will delight members of Lewisham council, however members of the Association of Millwall Supporters are definitely less impress. 

A spokesperson for the AMS told The Guardian “This comes as absolute no surprise to anyone who has followed the progress of this report.

“The terms of reference were set by Lewisham council, the report was paid for by Lewisham council and all evidence was given in private and without the power to demand anything more.”

Senior Lewisham Council cabinet spokesperson Chris Best said “We thank former Supreme Court judge Lord Dyson for carrying out his independent Inquiry with great thoroughness and all the rigour we would expect from someone of his standing.”

However, Millwall released a statement to the contrary, stating that “Chairman John Berylson intends to write Lord Dyson by early next week.

“In his letter, Mr Berylson intends to highlight some errors of fact in the report, apparent omissions of evidence that MFC provided, disagreement with some of the conclusions reached by Lord Dyson, especially given the evidence that Lord Dyson presents in his report.”

There are worries that this report could potentially open the door for another compulsory purchase order from Lewisham council, much to the dismay of fans who heavily campaigned against the club leaving their home of 107 years. Millwall have explained that they “would strongly oppose such a move” and they will “seek to persuade the Council that there are other options for developing the site to the ultimate benefit of the community and without further protracted and acrimonious battles.”

What is a CPO?

A compulsory purchase order (CPO) is a legal function that allows certain bodies which need to obtain land or property to do so without the consent of the owner. 

CPO’s can be enforced when a proposed development is considered one for public betterment. In the case of the original Millwall CPO, the huge opposition from the public is likely to be what convinced Lewisham Council to pull the plug on the order.