Sadiq Khan has blocked the controversial plans from Madison Square Garden to build a 300ft replica of the Las Vegas Sphere in London‘s Olympic Park, it has been revealed – leaving hundreds of campaigners ‘delighted’.
A statement from the London Mayor is expected later today, Sky News reported, after growing backlash from hundreds of locals complaining that it would ‘blight’ the area.
Khan is said to be rejecting the plans on the grounds of excessive light pollution.
Madison Square Garden’s 300-foot-high ‘Sphere’ was given the go ahead by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) in March to be built on an empty spot of land between Stratford Station and the Olympic Park.
The music venue, said to cost a reported £800milllion, planned to contain a 21,500-capacity arena, as well as bars and restaurants, with the project hailed as a ‘pioneer in the next generation of immersive experiences.’
The MSG Sphere has been given the go-ahead in Stratford, east London, despite an avalanche of complaints from locals. Pictured: An artist’s impression of what the sphere could look like with an image of a singer displayed on the outside
The proposed Sphere would’ve been built on what is currently an empty car park, next to the Westfield shopping centre
But locals were not happy with the decision, blasting the plans and sharing concerns that the venue would cast a shadow over residents homes, increase pollution during a three-year construction process and cause significant light pollution at night.
More than 1,000 local residents formally objected to the planning application, while a petition calling for the project to be scrapped received more than 2,000 signatures.
But after Khan’s decision today, campaigners have begun celebrating with the news that the plans will no longer go ahead.
Nate Higgins, a campaigner and local councillor for Stratford Olympic Park said: ‘Absolutely delighted 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.
‘We would not be here today without the work of so many incredible campaigners. Because of their tireless efforts, which I have been honoured to support as the local councilor, alongside Danny Keeling, residents will not have to put up with black out blinds or Stratford station becoming overwhelmed.’
‘London’s cultural venues are incredibly important, but this application was always completely inappropriate for the site and they 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.
Developers claimed the arena would create over 1,000 new jobs and bring £50million a year into local businesses. Pictured: An artist’s impression of what the site would look like during the day with no lights on
‘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.’
US entertainment giant AEG, which owns the O2 Arena in Greenwich just four miles away, also expressed opposition to the MSG Sphere.
Today, Alistair Wood, Executive Vice President of Real Estate & Development at AEG Europe commented: ‘We welcome the Mayor of London’s decision to direct refusal of the Sphere’s planning application today.
‘We do not oppose competition in the live entertainment industry, and specifically do not oppose another large music venue in London.
‘However, this proposal had fundamental flaws from the beginning. It was the wrong design, in the wrong location, and this was the right call.’