Lewisham have announced that the proposed Compulsory Purchase Order affecting Millwall will not proceed. This is fantastic news for the Lions, all the work the club does locally in our community, and for thousands of fans across the country – including all those who have been in touch with me about Millwall’s future. You can read national coverage of this decision here.
It has taken some time to get this result from Lewisham. Sadly, many fans felt that Millwall’s interests and role locally were being ignored by Lewisham Council. The campaign to help the club involved thousands of Millwall fans, had the support of Lewisham Deptford MP Vicky Foxcroft and I as well as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who backed Millwall staying in Lewisham. Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Secretary of State for Sport, Tom Watson MP also pledged his support for Millwall and called on Lewisham to “defend the Den” and Southwark Council and its leader also spoke out about their concerns.
I pressed the Government on this issue, tabling questions to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Secretary of State for Sport to try and help Millwall. In all my correspondence I have emphasised the strength of the club’s commitment to our community. The club – and its Community Trust – has a proud history of supporting local and national charities and tackling issues such as serious violence and knife crime. The club has helped the local foodbank, Demelza House, Heart4more, Help for Heroes and Women’s Aid and stepped in to help the campaign for local lad Harvey Brown who has Morquio and is now getting better treatment as a result.
Millwall does far more of this community activism than many larger clubs. I am glad that Lewisham has now dropped CPO plans and hope the club’s future and all the community work Millwall do is now secure.