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Will Alsop described the proposed scheme as ‘a huge mixed-use development’ that would be based round the ‘re-jigging’ of the League One club’s 20,000-seat ground – The New Den – and ‘a little bit beyond’.
The architect, who last week revealed his plans for the redevelopment of Headingley Cricket Ground in Leeds (AJ Online 24.04.08), claimed the Millwall scheme would ‘put football at the heart of the community, along with arts and eating, drinking, living and a bit of working’.
Although Alsop’s designs are yet to be submitted to Lewisham Council, a ‘scoping opinion’ – in effect an outline of Millwall FC’s proposal – has been lodged.
Millwall chief executive and deputy chairman Heather Rabbatts confirmed that the club was working with Alsop but declined to divulge details of the scheme. She did however promise: ‘Whatever we do at Millwall, the stadium and the club’s fans will be at its heart.’
George Lampey, the secretary of Millwall Supporters Club, welcomed the news, saying that the ground’s current surroundings were ‘uninviting’, but warned: ‘That little word “re-jig” will send shock waves through our supporters. But as long as it helps the football club, we’re happy.
The proposed scheme will tie in with the completion of the nearby Surrey Canal Road Station – part of phase two of the East London Railway line – for which Alsop originally submitted designs in 1998, and which will complete in 2010.
Alsop said: ‘Having two stations [Millwall is also served by South Bermondsey] means you can have home fans arrive at one and away at the other.
‘But if we get it right, you will not need that segregation, because the whole place will calm people down – they will just be out for a good game of football.’
The New Den has been identified as a ‘mixed-use employment location’ in Lewisham Council’s 2007 Local Development Framework document. In it, the ground is described as having the potential ‘to form the core of a new location in north Lewisham in an area largely devoid of identifiable features such as local centres, and community and leisure facilities’.