Following the news that the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) Planning Decisions Committee has approved the planning application, subject to conditions, to build the 21,500-capacity MSG Sphere arena in Stratford, international promoter and venue giant AEG has issued a statement in which it has emphasised its strong objection to the decision.
The MSG Sphere London has yet to be signed off by major Sadiq Khan but should the development go ahead it would be located just four miles from the AEG owned and operated, 21,000-capacity, The O2 arena (pictured).
AEG issued the following statement:
“We believe the LLDC has made the wrong decision to resolve to grant approval for the MSG Sphere planning application in the face of strong objections from local residents, local community groups, ourselves and the local council, Newham, in which the venue will sit.
“There has been consistent and significant opposition to the MSG Sphere, including from local MPs, a third of all councillors in Newham, neighbouring East London boroughs, Royal Borough of Greenwich, rail operators, Historic England, and hundreds of local residents, some of whom are represented by local campaign group, Stop MSG.
“Although the Committee has resolved to grant permission for the main Sphere application, there will need to be a further decision to approve the Sphere’s advertising proposal. The Committee expressed concerns about granting a 25 year advertising consent without any recourse should the bright and moving illumination blight residents. Therefore, there will indeed be another vote on the MSG Sphere’s advertising proposal before consent can be granted, and so the committee’s important job is by no means done.”
“If it comes to it, we will be calling on the Mayor of London to uphold his election promise to do what’s best for Londoners, including the residents of Newham who are having this huge development forced on them, by directing refusal.”
“As we have always maintained, AEG does not oppose competition in the live entertainment industry, and specifically does not oppose another large music venue in London. But we do believe that Madison Square Garden’s scheme is fundamentally the wrong proposal, in the wrong location, and is technically fundamentally flawed. That is why we have consistently raised concerns and objections to the MSG proposals.
“MSG contends that its proposal has been conceived to reflect its locality, but to us it seems they have taken their original concept, designed for downtown Las Vegas, and transposed it directly onto a tight and constrained site overlooked by hundreds of residential properties in Stratford, East London.
“A venue should not be located so close to existing venues at the Olympic Park – such as the London Stadium and Copper Box – as well as The O2. It is imperative that MSG’s proposals do not add to congestion or overcrowding in the area, including on the public transport network, especially the Jubilee Line which is critical for the movement of guests to and from The O2.”