Plans to bring a new 21,500 capacity entertainment venue to east London have been officially withdrawn. The plans had been in the pipeline for a few years but had been stopped in their tracks when they were rejected by Sadiq Khan last year.
Khan had rejected plans based on the negative effect that the venue would have on locals and the ball sphere was put in Michael Gove’s court. Gove used his powers to call-in and review the rejection of this planning permission but Madison Square Garden Entertainment (MSG) have now announced that they will not be continuing to participate in a process that was “merely a political football between rival parties”.
In a letter to the Planning Inspectorate which confirmed the application was being withdrawn, MSG said: “It is extremely disappointing that Londoners will not benefit from the Sphere’s groundbreaking technology and the thousands of well-paying jobs it would have created.”
The proposed crystal ball-esque arena (the MSG Sphere) was set to be built between Stratford’s Olympic Park and Westfield. It had received a lot of criticism for the noise and light pollution it would cause. The Las Vegas counterpart of the same name opened last year with U2 kicking off their residency as the very first performers at the Vegas sphere.
The venue would have be an undeniably interesting addition to London’s concert venues. With a maximum capacity of 21,500, MSG Sphere would have overtaken Manchester Arena and the O2 to become the UK’s biggest concert arena. A revolutionary sound system designed by German outfit Holoplot would have ensured that every audience member could experience the same audio quality, regardless of where they’re sat. The interior was set to boast the largest LED screen in the world, beaming images all over the arena. Meanwhile, the spherical design and a host of triangular LED panels would allow the exterior to show what’s happening too.
As cool as that all may sound, it’s undeniable that it would have hugely impacted the lives of Stratford locals. A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “As part of looking at the planning application for the MSG Sphere, the Mayor saw independent evidence that showed the proposals would result in an unacceptable negative impact on local residents. This included the adverse effects of the substantial external lighting.”
Also published on Medium.