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Millwall take big step forward with Den expansion plans

Millwall are edging ever closer to expanding the Den, as Lewisham Council are set to approve a 999-year extension to the current lease of the ground.

Plans approved in January 2022 will see around 3,500 new homes built on the land around the football ground, and the club hope to extend the capacity of the stadium from 20,000 to 34,000 with an additional tier of seats being added to the existing stands.

“Millwall Football Club welcomes the news that the initial planning application for the New Bermondsey redevelopment has been approved, Millwall communications director Billy Taylor told the press. “This is a significant step forward for what is a much-needed regeneration.”

The new lease agreement would unlock the ability to redevelop the area, named New Bermondsey, as the current lease prohibits such building work from going ahead.

What will the New Den look like?

Concept design image courtesy of AFL architects

The above image shows the impressive designs for what the redeveloped Den might look like on completion.

According to the architects responsible for the designs, the redeveloped stadium will provide the necessary facilities to meet entry requirements for the Premier League such as additional media and player accommodation, allowing the club to expand beyond its current position.

The expansion would of course also provide much improved facilities for supporters and opportunities for the club to maximise revenue from corporate hospitality and related income streams.

It's been put forward that the new ground will also feature a public plaza, allowing the club to host events not only on matchday, but for the new local community created by the addition of the extra housing around the site.

The ground is currently situated in a largely industrial area, but the plans would allow this to be completely revitalised.

A rocky road up to now

It's not been an easy ride to get the project plans to this point, and in fact the previous mayor of Lewisham – Sir Steve Bullock – faced calls to step down when the council had declared it wanted to take the land back from the football club and hand it over to developers.

At this point, Millwall threatened to leave the borough of Lewisham and from there, it seems like club and council have been working on a new way forward that will benefit both parties.

A new lease is vital for Millwall

That has led to the proposal for the new lease, which would allow Millwall to develop their ground alongside the building of the new homes.

“A revised lease structure has several benefits for the council, including enabling the development of much-needed housing and provision of a new community facility,” council documents read.

“Millwall are an important and valued stakeholder in the borough, providing jobs and driving spend and commercial activity so a lease structure which supports development will in turn support the sustainability of Millwall and will further support jobs, employment and economic activity.”

With that said, it's important to point out that there's still a long way to go before any concrete plans on the start of the building work is announced. The project is large and complicated, which means there is always plenty of red tape to work through. It's been reported that any work could still take several years to complete.

Chloe Digby

An experienced freelance football writer, editor and podcaster, Chloe has worked for Forbes, the Guardian, the BBC, Mundial Magazine, FourFourTwo Magazine the iPaper, OneFootball, Tortoise Media and many more. Chloe has been a regular at Stockport County since 1995 and also follows Fiorentina. She is an expert on fan culture, having traveled all over England and Italy watching football.

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