Sadiq Khan has rejected plans for a London version of the Las Vegas MSG Sphere due to the “unacceptable” impact it would have on local residents, but the final decision rests with Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove
Plans for a 300ft Las Vegas-style sphere music venue in London have been rejected by Sadiq Khan due to its potential “unacceptable” impact on locals.
The Mayor of London has turned down plans for a version of the MSG Sphere in Stratford after pointing out the light pollution would cause major issues – in a win for campaigners. However, the final decision now rests with Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove. A spokesperson for Mr Khan said: “London is open to investment from around the world and Sadiq wants to see more world-class, ambitious, innovative entertainment venues in our city.
“But as part of looking at the planning application for the MSG Sphere, the mayor has seen independent evidence that shows the current proposals would result in an unacceptable negative impact on local residents.” The Madison Square Garden Company, which owns Madison Square Garden in New York City, unveiled its plans in 2018 to construct “the UK’s largest concert arena”, known as the MSG Sphere, near Stratford station.
The Sphere was planned to have a capacity of 21,500 and was intended to host concerts, sports events and shows, as well as feature a nightclub, a members-only lounge and restaurants, reports MyLondon. Local residents, councillors and Lyn Brown, the Labour MP for West Ham, have long opposed the plans. They argue that light pollution from the Sphere’s advertising screens would keep people up at night. Some residents even said they’d move out if the “gigantic glowing orb” was built right outside their windows.
Local resident Sam Ellis previously told the LDRS: “[Blackout blinds] are not sufficient. It’s noise, it’s going to be a club, it’s a [21,500] capacity with the best sound. That’s really not going to cut it and I don’t want a giant advertising globe right in front of my flat. I oppose it and my partner does as well. We rent this space so if it were to happen we would move, because our balcony completely overlooks that space.”
Green councillor Nate Higgins for Stratford Olympic Park ward, where the Sphere is planned to be built, expressed his concern. He said: “There was outrage at the possibility of blackout blinds being necessary to stop light pollution from the advertising screens on the outside of the Sphere.”
Despite the controversy, the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) approved the Sphere in a planning meeting in March 2022. Cllr Higgins said he was “absolutely delighted” following Monday’s decision. Cllr Higgins said: “London’s cultural venues are incredibly important, but this application was always completely inappropriate for the site. The 25-year advertising consent the applicants demanded show they were not interested in contributing to our capital’s cultural scene, only bombarding the residents of Stratford with endless advertising.”
A spokesperson for Sphere Entertainment said: “While we are disappointed in London’s decision, there are many forward-thinking cities that are eager to bring this technology to their communities. We will concentrate on those.”
The Mirror has approached LLDC for comment.
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