London Mayor Sadiq Khan has rejected plans to build a Las Vegas style MSG Sphere in Stratford.
Plans for the Sphere were first drawn out in 2018 by the same company that run the iconic New York Madison Square Garden. The company purchased a 4.7-acre site in Stratford next to the Olympic Park on which to build the Sphere and would have held a capacity of 21,500. The proposed venue was set to house shops, restaurants and potentially a smaller 1,500 capacity venue to help support grassroots artists.
Now, The London Mayor has rejected the plans following widespread pushback from local residents as well as the local MP Lyn Brown who has described the proposed venue a “monstrosity”.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London 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.”
Similar to the Las Vegas venue, the proposed venue would have had an estimate of 1,000,000 LED light bulbs on its exterior. This had caused a lot of concern over the impact of light pollution for the local residents. MSG had promised to provide blackout blinds to homes within 150 metres of the venue.
Nate Higgins, the local Green Party Councillor for Stratford Olympic Park, shared a statement on Facebook, stating: “Absolutely delighted to share that our campaigning on behalf of residents in Stratford Olympic Park alongside Against the MSG Sphere London has paid off, and Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London has today rejected the MSG Sphere planning application in his stage 2 decision.”
He added: “London’s cultural venues are incredibly important, but this application was always completely inappropriate for the site and 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. We’ll have more to say in the coming weeks about what happens next, but this incredible victory goes to show the value of community organising and listening to residents. As the local councillors, we’ll never stop doing that.”
It was recently reported that the Las Vegas venue had made a loss of $98.4 million since its opening in September, having cost $2.3 billion to build.