After a lengthy planning and application process, which was initially accepted in 2018, Madison Square Garden Company’s (MSG) plans for a London Sphere, similar to the one in Las Vegas, have been rejected by London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the London Legacy Development Corporation.
MSG initially purchased about five acres of land in Stratford, London, east of the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre, but ongoing concerns about undue disruption to resident’s lives, a lack of green credentials, and light pollution from the venue, have rendered the project a no-go.
Their initial concerns centred around the unavoidable light pollution, crush risks associated with Stratford Station, and road safety issues where concerning a lack of modal share cycling not in line with the London Plan (0.44% share of parking spaces vs the required 12.2% mode share for private motor vehicles).
Campaigners also pointed to a reporter published earlier this year by the London Assembly Environment Committee which explicitly requested the refusal of a planning application for the MSG Sphere.
As reported by the Guardian, a spokesperson for London Mayor Sadiq Khan said of the rejected proposal, “London is open to investment from around the world and Sadiq wants to see more world-class, ambitious, innovative entertainment venues in our city,” adding, ” But as part of looking at the planning application for the MSG Sphere, the mayor has seen independent evidence that shows the current proposals would result in an unacceptable negative impact on local residents.”
Comment from AEG
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.”