Bid to build MSG Sphere in Stratford hits a hurdle after Newham Council meeting
PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:19 18 July 2019
Plans to build an innovative entertainment venue have hit a hurdle after councillors supported a critical report.
Members of Newham Council's strategic development committee voted in favour of the consultation to be sent to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) which will decide on the MSG Sphere planning application.
The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) wants to build the live music hub on three hectares near Angel Lane, Stratford.
The 90-metre high, golf-ball shaped MSG Sphere includes an auditorium, concert hall, nightclub, restaurants and shops.
It would be covered in a "skin" of LED lights with images including adverts on its surface.
Tuesday's meeting at the Old Town Hall, Stratford saw backers and campaigners against the plans under one roof.
Jayne McGivern, MSG's executive vice president for development and construction, said her team was there to listen and wanted to address any concerns.
Newham College's Julia Bollam, Lloyd Johnson from Newham Chamber of Commerce, and Dean Curtis from the University of East London lined up in support saying the venue would boost the area's economy and provide jobs.
"Opportunities like this come along infrequently," Ms Bollam said.
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But Sakiba Gurda of the Stop MSG Sphere campaign group told councillors the venue was an "unprecedentedly monstrous proposal".
She said the MSG Sphere would force people out of their homes due to light, noise and air pollution as well as put pressure on the surrounding area's roads and Stratford station.
Ms Gurda warned it would attract antisocial behaviour.
"[MSG Sphere] will make the profit. We will pick up the casualties," she said.
When Cllr Harvinder Singh Virdee dismissed the Sphere as looking like "a blob" in the middle of Stratford, Ms McGivern replied: "This building is a joyous ball of magic.
"We're not in the business of making anyone's life miserable."
The consultation report takes aim at the number of jobs for residents and the impact on Stratford.
It states: "[T]his development will have an imposing and dominant impact".
The "unprecedented scale" of the illuminated ads would also set an "unhelpful precedent".
It calls for a £20-25million boost to make sure Stratford station could handle increased footfall.
The report concludes that without its demands being met Newham will object to the bid which LLDC could decide in the winter.
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