Promoter and venue operator AEG has repeated its call for the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) to reject the “seriously inadequate and flawed” planning application for the 21,500-capacity MSG Sphere arena four miles from AEG’s The O2 (cap. 21,000) in East London.
A decision on the proposed Stratford venue will be made on 22 March. If successful, it will see the construction of the first UK venue from the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG), which runs the legendary 18,600-capacity Madison Square Garden venue in New York.
MSG said the Sphere will generate 4,300 jobs during construction, and more than 1,000 full time jobs, if given the green light. The venue was designed by Populous, the architecture firm behind Wembley Stadium. Plans include the arena having a programmable exterior ‘skin’ of LED displays.
MSG submitted a planning application to the LLDC in March 2019. It has been met with resistance from local people, including a Stop MSG Sphere Facebook campaign and petition.
AEG has claimed that the local council objects to the application but is not the final decision maker, and that Transport for London has asked for curbs on the operation of the new venue that will impact the Sphere’s fundamental purpose and viability.
AEG said, “Madison Square Garden has claimed that the two-hectare facade with over 1 million LEDs has ‘no adverse health effects’ without credible evidence to support that position.
It distributed a mock up image (above) claiming it showed the view from a neighbouring residential apartment building in Stratford, should the application for the new venue be granted.
AEG said, “There has been consistent and significant opposition to the MSG Sphere, including from local MPs, Newham Council, neighbouring boroughs Hackney and Greenwich, railway operators, Transport for London, Historic England, and hundreds of local residents.”
A spokesperson for AEG said, ““MSG’s planning application is hopelessly inadequate and fails to address the issues arising out of its new London context and the specific constraints of the Stratford Site, breaching planning policy in several areas. The proposals would exacerbate congestion at the already over-crowded Stratford Station, and no additional train services are proposed to mitigate the impact on the Jubilee Line.
“It has been suggested that various further modelling and assessment be undertaken post-planning meaning that the full impact of the proposals is simply not known.”