Plans to build a giant sphere-shaped music venue in Stratford have been dealt a dramatic blow after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan rejected the proposals today.
The MSG Sphere would have been identical to the facility recently opened in Las Vegas, with the London site intended to offer the capital a world-leading music and entertainment venue.
Today a spokesman for the firm, Sphere Entertainment, said: “While we are disappointed in London’s decision, there are many forward-thinking cities that are eager to bring this technology to their communities. We will concentrate on those.”
However local residents have complained that the Sphere, which is lit on the outside by millions of LED lights, would affect their quality of life.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “London is open to investment from around the world and Sadiq wants to see more world-class, ambitious, innovative entertainment venues in our city.
“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.”
The future of the venue, which developers MSG argue would deliver a £2.5bn economic boost to the capital and support more than a thousand jobs, is now dependent on Michael Gove, the housing secretary.
Plans for the Stratford Sphere were approved by the London Legacy Development Corporation last year, but earlier this year Gove issued an Article 31 Direction to the LLDC stating that he is considering whether the “application should be referred to him for determination.”
Gove could, should he choose, call in the project for further scrutiny.
A note from the report said that planning officers identified “unacceptable harm” to hundreds of residents, including in the amenity of at least 33 homes in the New Garden Quarter residential development; 28 homes in the Legacy Tower/Stratford Central; and 177 student rooms in the Unite student accommodation building.
In addition, there were further “significant concerns” raised including the building’s height, bulk, massing and that it is “not a sustainable building due to high energy usage”.
AEG Europe, which owns the O2 Arena and which has been a vocal opponent of the new project, said it welcomed the decision.
“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,” a spokesperson said.