Elsewhere in Lewisham - Millwall Compulsory Purchase Order

South London Press gave this story the front page this week.

I am puzzled as to why the Council doesn’t explain its plan: why hasn’t the Mayor or the Chief Exec agreed to a full interview in the South London Press? Or why not outline the development in ‘Lewisham Life’ (the Council’s magazine that is put through letterboxes in the borough)? The Council’s website has nothing about this major development proposal. Why not? It may be a great plan, so why not explain it? Otherwise it looks like there’s something to hide.

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There are hundreds of pages on the development written to aid CPO decision. Surely Council should not use Lewisham life to give free advertising to a essentially private developer.

I will admit that it is hard to search for data on specifics and sheer volume of information makes it difficult to digest the substance. I also believe that the decision makers will do their upmost to review all the information available and make the best decision in the interest of whole Lewisham community. The decision has been postponed couple of times because new information keeps coming to light and it is only fair to make an informed decision.

This decision will be made by the Cabinet (not Mayor or the full Council). So below is just a flavour of the benefits

“The New Bermondsey regeneration has the potential to deliver huge benefits for Lewisham and wider region which is why this CPO has been proposed,” a council spokesman said.
“The scheme would deliver 2,400 desperately needed new homes, a new overground station, new sports facilities and up to 1,500 new permanent jobs.
“An enhanced Millwall stadium, the Den, is at the centre of this regeneration.
“The area around the stadium is currently a run-down, under-used light industrial 30-acre site that needs to work much better for the borough.
“Renewal has assembled most of the land needed for the project.
“The prospective CPO will enable the acquisition of the remaining interests required so this important scheme can be delivered.
“Lewisham Council is very supportive of Millwall Football Club and has consistently said that its ability to operate the stadium must and will be protected.
“The planning permission and related planning agreements provide benefits for the club valued at around £7million, including recladding of the stadium.
“They also protect the club’s ability to expand the stadium should Millwall FC get into the Premier League.

Mark Taylor, director at Renewal said: “Millwall Football Club is a vital part of the culture and community of north Lewisham, and as such, Renewal’s vision from the outset was to incorporate a successful, self-sustaining football club at the heart of the proposed development.
“The club itself has stated that it’s a big fan of the plans for the regeneration of the Surrey Canal Triangle.
“Through the section 106 agreement, we are committed to providing circa £7million worth of direct benefits to Millwall Football Club, creating a much improved and enjoyable experience for fans.
“These benefits to Millwall Football Club and Millwall Community Trust include:
Enhanced setting for the stadium with improved facilities for spectators, including a new Overground station, improved access to South Bermondsey and two new bus routes.
The ability to extend capacity from 20,146 to 26,500 if required.
Recladding of the Millwall FC Stadium.
Provision of underground car parking spaces to be used by MFC on event and non-event days.
Relocation of the Millwall FC memorial garden.
New ground keepers store.
Re-provision of coach parking spaces to be used by MFC on event days.
Parking for outside broadcast vehicles.
Relocation of the Millwall Community Trust to a state of the art replacement facility
“We are fully committed to bringing positive change to the area and look forward to continuing to work with the council, land owners and Millwall Football Club to ensure that New Bermondsey, one of the largest regeneration schemes in London, can become a reality for Lewisham.”

More links
http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/regeneration/deptford/north-deptford/Pages/Surrey-Canal.aspx

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/regeneration/deptford/north-deptford/Pages/New-Bermondsey-questions-and-answers.aspx

http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=139&MId=4492

Do I need to find more links?

Just a thought, if Lewisham made it easier to find the links in the first place you, as a councillor, wouldn’t have to point them out. Just saying.

However, thank you for taking the time to update us Maja. Appreciated.

Recladding the stadium :grinning: If Millwall lose their current academy status due to the development ( as they seem to think is likely) I’m sure they’ll love he new look cladding when they are forced out of Lewisham.

So potentially very suspect goings on with Lewisham on this.

I think Lewisham Life would be the ideal vehicle for the Council to explain its thinking about the development, why it is regarded as beneficial, and why this scheme in particular has been selected.

I hope you are right, but it seems problematic that the citizens of Lewisham are being asked to believe in their leaders’ best intentions rather than having the plans discussed and consulted on as widely as possible in the borough. Sometimes with the best intentions, there is disagreement abut what constitutes the best plan. It raises suspicions when - as reported in the media - elected representatives and officials have financial interests in the outcome.

This also I find troubling. Why is the full Council not voting on this?

If the council are interested in CPOs could we get them to buy the skip yard in the centre of Forest Hill?

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You’ll find that justification in the planning approval notice: Link

The planning application had a consultation period during which comments from interested parties could be submitted. The same applies to the Lewisham Core Strategy which would have also gone through a period of consultation. The Core Strategy document identifies the site as one of five strategic development sites within the borough.

It’s also important to note (for the purposes of a balanced view) that the relationship between the Council and the Club with regards to development of the site has been fraught. The club has different aspirations for the site but they have never bought forward a planning application. Obviously there appears to be some issues hence the delay in the CPO decision but Millwall’s announcement that they ‘may’ consider leaving Lewisham if the CPO were to go ahead does appear to be very shrewd and has obviously generated a swell of support locally!

It will be interesting to see what happens in Feb!

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Can you please say who from current officers or elected members will financially benefit from the outcome and what is the proof behind such a statement? I am interested as that is completely unacceptable.

I don’t understand why Milwall FC is making such a statement. Millwall Community Trust will be offered state of art new facilities. I assume that is how their Academy is run, but I will stand corrected.

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Thanks Maja for your posts.

It really shouldn’t be down to you to make us public aware of this, but I really appreciate it.

Can I ask why "Mayor & cabinet " are not responding to this, and just “Cabinet”?

This makes me feel very uneasy as it’s very important.

Why won’t the Mayor (Steve Bullock) give his opinion on this?

Seconded. @MajaHilton’s input is much appreciated on this forum - we are lucky to have councillors joining us here in addition to the surgeries and standard obligations of their role.

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Hi @Pauline
I can’t speak for the Mayor, as I am not his spokesperson.

I can only imagine that there are rules governing decision makers prior to making such a decision. Naimly they are supposed to come to the meeting with an open mind. I was certainly told this when I am part of planning committee which decides on planning applications. Speaking in public prior to decision being taken could be used to exclude them from being part of the decision.

Therefore their silence at this stage is nothing unusual.

If anyone thinks that an important bit of information is not in the papers already, they should write to the cabinet. It was these kind of facts that have meant that decision has been postponed so far. Some may call this slow bureaucracy others see it as fair decision making.

@pauline in answer to your question:

I think that explains why the cabinet need to be involved in the decison making process, rather than the mayor alone.

The company in question is very probably Surrey Canal Sports Foundation
https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07523847/officers
Which includes some pretty well known names from the world of sport and beyond. It also includes past directors of various Renewal companies. This could easily be seen as a conflict of interest had the mayor been soley responsible for decision making.

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Thanks Michael, that makes complete sense to me!

What I have to say now (and no disrespect to @MajaHilton, who I think has been more than fair with her posts & I really appreciate them & respect her as a person & Councillor) is I still find this whole business very underhand & fishy but absolutely nothing to do with her at all.

Hi @ChrisBeach
Posting here is a bit like being in community. The Council is a huge organisation which does so much more than clean the roads and collect the rubbish bins. As a public body it has its rules about how things have to be done to meet test of transparency and accountability. To someone working in a private sector (majority of us) some of the things look alien until you realise that transparency and accountability are huge tests to meet in complex organisation. So I do see it fit to try and explain if I can.

What I would also like to point out is that even though other councillors don’t post here it doesn’t mean they don’t follow what is happening. All local councillors have links to the community and help loads of residents in many ways. It is just incredible how people from different backgrounds do become councillors. (Currently we have range from a solicitor to an opera singer and amateur magician, former rough sleeper to a lord, unemployed to retired, there is also fair BAME and LGBT representation, single, married and divorced)

We also have councillors who don’t really do computers but that is not stopping them to reach out in the community and be great representatives.

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Spot on, @Michael.

Latest from today’s Guardian:

The more I hear about this the more underhand it seems!

Opening a can of worms springs to mind, let’s see where it ends!

Some of the holding companies make it difficult to understand the ownerships involved, fortunately Mushtaq Malik, CEO of Renewal wrote a Private and Confidential email to the CEO of Lewisham Council. Despite being marked Private and Confidential (and not for circulation) it was included in minutes of a council meeting and, although no longer available on the web is in Google cache. I should add that I find nothing unreasonable about any of this information, but I’ve been trying to work it out for a few weeks and this gives all the answers.

Ownership
The ultimate owners of Renewal are:
(1) Independent Advisors Incorporated, which is ultimately owned and controlled by a family trust established by my parents (during my late teens) solely for the benefit of myself and my dependents.

(2) Incorporated Holdings Limited, which is ultimately owned and controlled by a charitable trust, for which the principal beneficiary is the Jack Petchey Foundation, a UK registered charity. Please see attached letter from IHL confirming their ownership.

Millwall Community Trust
The intention and principle behind the relocation package offered to MCT is that it will be no worse off financially as part of its move from the Lions Centre to Energize.

Renewal has also confirmed to MCT that they will not be liable to repay any historic grant funding paid to it in respect of their current facilities at the Lions Centre.

It is also worth noting that there will be no obligation upon MCT to vacate from the Lions Centre unless and until the new facilities at Energize are completed. Finally, Renewal will have no involvement in the ownership or running of Energize. The Surrey Canal Sports Foundation (an independently constituted charity) will be responsible for owning, running and operating Energize, and they will be the party with whom MCT will have an ongoing relationship.

Relationship with the Council
I can categorically confirm that no officers nor members of the Council (whether current or former) are involved with Renewal or either of its shareholders – whether as participants, owners, investors, beneficiaries or similar – with the exception of myself.

Between July 2002 and August 2007, Dave Sullivan was a director and minor shareholder in Renewal companies primarily engaged in projects other than Surrey Canal Road / New Bermondsey.

He had a minor involvement in early site acquisitions at Surrey Canal Road, between November 2004 and August 2007. He sold all his shareholdings in all Renewal companies to Independent Advisors Incorporated between August 2005 and June 2006, and he formally resigned as a director from all Renewal companies in August 2007. Since then Dave has had no involvement with Renewal or its shareholders.

During Dave’s time at Renewal, he did not attend any meetings in respect of the scheme with Council officials or the GLA. It is also of note that the planning pre application discussions for Surrey Canal Triangle with the Council commenced in earnest in November 2007 after Dave Sullivan had left and ceased to have any involvement. For completeness, I confirm that Dave Sullivan does not, and has not had any involvement of any nature (whether as director, shareholder or otherwise) in Independent Advisors Incorporated or Incorporated Holdings Limited.

Sir Steve Bullock is a Director and Trustee of the Surrey Canal Sports Foundation Ltd (co. no. 07523847; charity no. 1141811). He was appointed as a director on 3 December 2012. The Surrey Canal Sports Foundation is a wholly independent registered charity established to deliver, and thereafter run and manage Energize.

This is saying that Renewal as a company will have no part of running Energize which may be true, but neglects to point out that one of the directors of the Surrey Canal Sports Trust is Jordana Malik, a director of Renewal. So there are strong ties there.

Has everyone read the transpontine blog entry on this issue?

It’s an interesting view which doesn’t necessarily contradict what’s been reported elsewhere, but puts a different perspective on it. While the relationships between the council and Renewal appear to be worth a second look, Millwall’s owners also appear to be keen to buy and develop the land around the stadium which is currently leased.

Worth reading.