Statement made by Councillor Alan Smith, Chair of Cabinet 15/12/16
In all of its deliberations about the proposed compulsory purchase order at New Bermondsey, the Council has been, and remains, firmly committed to the continued operation of the Millwall Football Club. We recognise that its continued operation must be at the heart of ant proposed redevelopment. To achieve this, the Council has throughout put in place measures to protect the Club and the Millwall Community Scheme, including through the imposition of planning obligations to secure the use of the new improved sporting facilities that would be provided if the redevelopment proceeds.
For the first time, despite years of contact between the Council and the Club, on 13 December 2016, the Chief Executive of Millwall Football Club in his spoken submission to the Council raised an issue which the Club has never before brought to our attention. The issue which is clearly important to the Club concerns the Category 2 status of the Millwall Football Club Youth Academy. The Club’s Chief Executive told the Council on 13 December that such status may be put in jeopardy by the current proposals for the use of the new sporting facilities to replace the Lions Centre, should the redevelopment proceed. We do not believe this to be the case.
However, this is clearly a significant issue for the Club and, despite the fact that it has only been brought to the attention of the Council at this very late stage, it is an issue which the Council takes seriously. Since the issue was first raised, Council officers have been gathering information about the current arrangements between the Academy and the Millwall Community Scheme for use of the facilities at the Lions Centre. We need to get to the bottom of the existing arrangements so that we can understand what future protection would be needed.
We believe that sufficient protections are in place already, but we want to be confident that if the compulsory purchase order proceeds, appropriate protections are in place to protect the Category 2 status. For this reason we are making further enquiries, including writing to the Club and the Millwall Community] Scheme to set out for us in writing details of their current arrangements and to let us have information concerning the Category 2 status of the Academy.
To allow members to consider the new information and its impact, I am proposing that the reconsideration of the decision made by the Cabinet on 7 September 2016 to make a compulsory purchase order in respect of the New Bermondsey site be deferred to our next meeting on 11 January 2017. That will allow us to give this particular matter further consideration.