AFL Architects is pleased to announce a positive step forward in the proposals for The Den, the home of Millwall FC, following discussions with the club and residential developer Renewal.
On the 6th February, Lewisham Council agreed a visionary new masterplan for the area around The Den. This is an important step forward in enabling the successful regeneration of the wider Surrey Canal Triangle area, with Millwall FC at its heart.
AFL has been working in collaboration with Millwall FC and the Renewal design team for the past few months to develop proposals for The New Den and the area surrounding it, known as New Bermondsey.
The proposals under development include a strategy for incremental, phased expansion of the existing stadium, up to a total maximum capacity of 34,000 seats, built as additional upper tiers behind the existing seating bowl. This will not only provide the facilities needed to meet Premier League requirements – such as additional media and player accommodation – but also in time provide enhanced facilities for fans to transform their match day experience.
Part of the proposal is the creation of a vibrant new public plaza at the heart of New Bermondsey, providing a valuable amenity for the surrounding community – new and old – as well as an engaging space for fans on match days. This is elevated over parking and service areas and accommodates retail, commercial and community use spaces along the street frontages. Complementing all of this will be flexible commercial space for events and conferencing, alongside residential developments that would drive additional funding to the surrounding site.
This diverse development mix will help to ensure the long-term success of The Den, the club and the Millwall Community Trust, which uses the power of sport to improve the lives of people in Lewisham, Southwark and the wider Millwall community. Through this funding stream, the Trust will gain much needed facility improvements and upgrades, including a new sports centre with a sports hall, changing rooms, a gym and a community café. In addition, the Trust will have access to new multi-purpose spaces within a proposed West Stand extension for potential classrooms or fitness studios. Externally, a zone to the south of the stadium is proposed on non-match days as a multi-use games area.
The development strategy is to retain as much of the existing stadium structure as possible while providing for a flexible phased uplift to both facilities and capacity over time. This not only maintains the stadium in use for fans, but minimises demolition and construction waste. The design approach is to create spaces that are adaptable, flexible and multi-use, encouraging activity within and around the stadium seven days a week to make optimal use of resources and create a sustainable future for the Club at the heart of New Bermondsey.
Bruce Caldwell, Senior Associate of AFL Architects said: “This news is the best of all possible outcomes. Not only does the club have a clear plan for their future growth that retains their unique brand, but the wider South Bermondsey community reap the benefits. In addition, the retention of much of the existing stadium structure ensures AFL is aligning our development plans with the Architecture Journal’s RetroFirst campaign, championing reuse in the built environment. We are also committed to using locally sourced traditional materials where possible, such as London Stock Brick for the stadium facades.
“It has been a long road for the club, but we are thrilled to be a part of this exciting, sustainable regeneration and look forward to putting the plans in motion.”
The design of the new proposals has been inspired by the history of Millwall FC and its surroundings. The use of brickwork arches references the railway viaducts and industrial past that surround the current site, and also those at Millwall Park, which was home to the club on the Isle of Dogs over one hundred years ago, where the brick railway viaduct can be seen in the background of historic match photographs. Internally, as much of the original stadium infrastructure as possible will be kept, to ensure the unique atmosphere of the Den is retained.