MSG Sphere plans slammed by Stratford neighbours

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 May 2019

A CGI of the proposed MSG Sphere. Picture: MSG

A CGI of the proposed MSG Sphere. Picture: MSG


Neighbours have slammed plans to build an entertainment venue which could hold 21,500 people.

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 Olympic Games.

The 90-metre high, golf-ball shaped MSG Sphere includes an auditorium, concert hall, nightclub, members lounge, restaurants and shops.

It would be covered in a 'skin' of LED lights which would see images including adverts displayed on its surface.

But campaigners from the Stop MSG Sphere group are 'terrified' the proposals will be a blight on the area increasing noise, light and air pollution levels as well as anti-social behaviour.

The location where the proposed MSG Sphere would be built. Picture: MSGThe location where the proposed MSG Sphere would be built. Picture: MSG

They warn Stratford Station would be 'crippled' by crowds and estimate 60,000 more people could swamp the area if the venue were to be filled for three events per day.

An online petition calling for more social housing instead and an independent consultation on the proposal has been signed by more than 600 people.

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

Its business plan does not include three concerts per day but a mix of large and small events.

The location where the proposed MSG Sphere would be built. Picture: MSGThe location where the proposed MSG Sphere would be built. Picture: MSG

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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.

CGI of the proposed MSG Sphere. Picture: MSGCGI of the proposed MSG Sphere. Picture: MSG

Stop MSG Sphere member, Lindesay Mace, said: "It doesn't feel like the big people are fighting for residents.

"When I go to the Olympic Park I see a ghetto of very expensive flats with beautifully cleaned streets because they are privately owned.

"But when I go to the rest of Stratford I wonder what local people have got out of the Olympic legacy."

MSG has said 35 per cent of construction and the same number of operating jobs would go to people from Newham.

But Lindesay claimed none would be higher paid specialist roles, which the company denies.

The application submitted to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which oversees planning bids at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, has received 29 objections and 15 shows of support from the public.

Jayne McGivern, executive vice president of development and construction at the MSG Company, said: "The residents and community groups we've met with have responded extremely positively to the jobs, investment and other benefits this project will bring, and we look forward to more great conversations with people in Newham."

Asked about the prospects of stopping the Sphere, Lindesay said: "If we don't try, no one else is going to."

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