Sadiq Khan has rejected the plans for the MSG Sphere to be placed in Stratford, London. The Sphere would have looked very similar to the Sphere in Las Vegas that has been grabbing attention since its opening in September of this year.
The Sphere in Las Vegas is a 21,500 was first announced in 2018 by the Madison Square Garden Entertainment Group and would have been the largest arena by capacity in the UK. The plans for the venue would have had the Sphere lighting up the Stratford area adjacent to the Westfield Shopping Centre and the Olympic Park.
When plans were originally presented for the London site in 2018 it received the support of London Mayor, Sadiq Khan and then-Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock. Network Rail originally had an objection to the venue, but then withdrew the objection as the plans became clearer in 2019.
Plans were drawn up to include a smaller 1,500 capacity venue inside the sphere to support smaller grassroots. A complex including shops and restaurants were also drawn up within the plans. A 2019 application informed that thousands of jobs would be made available with the new project, however thousands of residents had objected to the venue’s construction and concerns were raised by the London Assembly Environment Committee about light levels.
The project gained planning approval on March 22nd 2022, with the next steps being a review from the Mayor of London as well as a legal planning agreement. However, it has now been revealed that the venue has not passed the review from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
A spokesperson for Khan 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.”
— Nate Higgins (@natehiggins) November 20, 2023
Local councillor Nate Higgins, who has been campaigning against the Sphere being built in Stratford said: “Absolutely delighted to share 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. London’s cultural venues are incredibly important, but this application was always inappropriate for the site and the 25-year advertising consent the applicants demanded shows they were not interested in contributing to our capital’s cultural scene – but bombarding the residents of Stratford with endless advertising,”.