At a time when we are close to celebrating the full on return of community football to Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, just down the road our neighbours Millwall FC, and more importantly the Millwall Community Trust are being treated with an attitude that stinks of contempt by Lewisham Council. On Wednesday of this week Lewisham Council’s cabinet voted by 6 votes to 1 to approve a Compulsory Purchase Order of land around The New Den, which includes the Community Trust’s Lions Centre. The land has been targeted for development as part of the New Bermondsey project, led by the Renewal developers.
Whilst the plans don’t touch the fabric of the stadium, the selling off of all the land around The New Den will see 80 businesses evicted, quite literally tearing the community away from the club. It looks from here as if Lewisham Council have no appreciation of the importance of a football club to not just a local area, but to the community who live there. Having spent years fighting to return to our home, it is with grave concern that we look at the situation that Millwall and their Community Trust are being dropped into.
Millwall FC had their own proposals for further development around the stadium which included offering resilience to some of the business that are at the heart of the matchday experience for their fans, alongside building new homes and building artists’ studios. Renewal have said that their scheme, which includes new housing and transport links, will create 2000 jobs. Are those jobs worth destroying the essence of a football club for though? It appears that Lewisham Council don’t understand that there is more to football than Saturday at 3pm, that a club lives for the community.
Fisher FC believes that community is the most important thing in football, which is why we are calling on all our fans to stand together with Millwall to Defend the Den. The time for online petitioning is gone, now it is incumbent on everyone involved to go direct to source. Our local MP Neil Coyle can help apply pressure to Lewisham Council, so email him about how important football is to communities. He should be someone who understands what a difference football can make given Southwark Council’s support for The Fish, so please get in touch and help support our neighbours and their important Community Trust.
You can email Neil Cole on firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more at defendourden.com