Plans for East London’s new giant Madison Square Garden Sphere music venue are set to be decided this month, leaving local residents terrified at the prospect of the enormous orb getting the green light.
The Madison Square Garden (MSG) group are planning to bring a new state-of-the-art music and immersive entertainment venue to Stratford.
At full capacity, the spherical building – which would be almost the height of the London Eye at 120m – could hold 21,500 people.
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MSG claims the sphere will “transport you to whole new worlds” using the largest and highest resolution LED screen in the world; adaptive acoustics and a haptic system.
But it’s the surrounding world – that of Newham – that residents are most worried about.
On the outside of the orb, there will be 190,000ft² of bright surface using 36,000,000 LED lights which MSG have said themselves will be used for advertising.
Campaign group Stop MSG Sphere has said: “Advertising of this scale is unprecedented and the light pollution levels are dangerous to the nearby residents and passing drivers.”
A resident of the Legacy Tower, which would overlook the ball of light, wrote on the campaign group saying the prospect is ‘truly terrifying’.
West Ham MP Lyn Brown wrote for her constituency in a letter to the group London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), who are making the final call on the project.
She said: “The presence of bright lights until after midnight on some days, and beginning again at 6am on some mornings, clearly has the potential to impact on health and wellbeing for residents living nearby”.
Ceren Sonmez, who lives opposite the proposed site, wrote on the group’s Facebook page: “Our friends have joked that it will at least reduce our electricity bills – we’ll never have to switch the lights on, day or night.
“Nobody expects a gigantic ball of light to arrive on their doorstep, no matter where they live.”
An almost identical $1.8bn sphere is currently being built in Las Vegas next to the Venetian resort in Vegas, set to open in 2023.
Local residents argue that Sin City is a more appropriate destination for such venue than on the edge of the highly congested residential area of Stratford and next to the 60,000-capacity London Stadium.
Stop MSG Sphere believes the predicted surge of 60,000 concert-goers every single day would put huge strain on the roads and public transport systems.
The Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), who own the O2 so would be a direct competitor to the MSG Sphere, created computer generated images to show what the orb will look like for local residents once constructed
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A spokesperson for the company 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 overcrowded Stratford Station, and no additional train services are proposed to mitigate the impact on the Jubilee Line.
“It is imperative that it does not add to congestion or overcrowding in this area of the city, or on the public transport network, especially the Jubilee line which is critical for the movement of guests to and from The O2.
“We believe that MSG’s scheme is fundamentally the wrong proposal, in the wrong location, and is technically seriously flawed.”
MSG argue that the site is “undeveloped” and if approved, “would become a thriving destination that also serves as a long-term investment in the future of London, supporting thousands of jobs and delivering billions of pounds of economic benefit for Newham, London and the UK.”
MSG have been contacted for comment.
What do you think of the proposals – should they go ahead? Let us know in the comments.
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