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Third of Newham councillors sign petition against MSG Sphere

PUBLISHED: 18:00 21 June 2019

CGI of the MSG Sphere in Stratford Picture: MSG Company

CGI of the MSG Sphere in Stratford Picture: MSG Company

MSG Company

A third of Newham's councillors have signed a petition against a 90 metre high entertainment venue proposed for Stratford.

The Recorder has seen the names of 20 councillors on the document, set up by the Stop MSG Sphere campaign group and due to be handed in before the consultation into the planned MSG Sphere concludes on Friday, June 28.

The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) wants to build a live music hub on 4.7 acres of land west of Angel Lane which was used as a coach park during the London 2012 Olympics.

And while there has been some support for the plans, including from businesses who would welcome the extra money the 21,500-capacity venue would bring to the borough's economy, there has also been criticism from neighbours worried about an increase in noise, light and air pollution and anti-social behaviour.

More than 900 people have signed either the hard copy or online version of the petition, which is due to be submitted to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) before Friday - the last chance for people to have their say on the plans.

This includes 20 of Newham's 60 councillors - with mayor Rokhsana Fiaz emphasising the right for them to be able to have an opinion on such a major development.

She said: "All of our councillors have an important role in representing the people of Newham, and each one of our 60 elected councillors is free to have their say on planning applications throughout the borough.

"I met with the Stop MSG group earlier this year to hear their concerns about the scale of the proposed development, light pollution and impact on surrounding neighbourhoods.

"I also have my concerns about these issues, and hope that these are given serious consideration by the LLDC, alongside the impact of the proposed development on Stratford station and the local area by increased commuters and visitors."

Lindesay Mace from the Stop MSG Sphere campaign said: "It is clear now that the strength of feeling extends into Newham council itself.

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"This support from councillors is brilliant, but what is most important is that people who oppose the Sphere submit their objection to the LLDC by the deadline of June 28."

Jayne McGivern, MSG's executive vice president of development and construction, said: "During the LLDC consultation we've had so many useful conversations with local residents and businesses about the potential of MSG Sphere.

"A clear majority of the consultation responses from local people to the LLDC at this stage are positive about our plans, which is tremendous news.

"As part of our commitment to being good neighbours for people in Stratford, Newham and wider London, we will also take this valuable opportunity to reflect on the other views shared ensuring we make MSG Sphere even better.

"Local feedback is vitally important, so I would urge anyone who has not yet looked at our plans and made their voice heard to do just that before the deadline."

MSG Sphere has previously said the 21,500 figure was provided to comply with planning regulations and that numbers would be up to 17,500 for concerts.

The firm also plans to invest in improvements at Stratford station and is in talks with TfL.

Plans are also being developed to manage crowds with controls over noise and light levels built into the design with MSG expecting few people to drive to the venue.

The plans, submitted in March, were welcomed by London mayor, Sadiq Khan, and by the government's then culture secretary Matt Hancock.

Ms Fiaz explained that Newham Council has been consulted by the LLDC and is in the process of reviewing application documents, including an environmental statement.

She added: "A full response to the LLDC consultation will be prepared over the coming months in line with Newham Council's statutory planning duties."

More than 440 comments have been made in response to the planning application. To have your say, visit http://planningregister.londonlegacy.co.uk by Friday, June 28.

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