The giant Orb set to obliterate London's skyline and the five year battle to stop it | UK | News

The giant Orb set to obliterate London's skyline and the five year battle to stop it | UK | News

Plans to build an enormous orb that was set to change London's skyline forever have been thrown out as London Mayor Sadiq Khan rejected the controversial proposal.

A Las Vegas-style MSG sphere, if constructed, would have had a 21,500 capacity and would have sat across from the railway station. It would have been close to other concert venues which locals said would have disrupted their lives.

In 2018, the MSG announced that it wanted to build the Sphere, a glazed orb beside the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London. 

The London Legacy Development Corporation, which first determines planning applications in the Olympic park, gave its approval in March last year.

The Sphere, designed by architect Populous, would be a copy of the Madison Square Garden Sphere in Las Vegas, a $2bn (£1.6bn) arena that played host to U2 last month. 

As per the plans, the London Sphere would be covered in LED panels and would stand almost 100m (300ft) high and 120m (360ft) wide. It would be built immediately to the east of the Olympic park.

However, the proposal was opposed by residents who vowed to leave if the sphere was built. The construction was expected to be covered in animated ads lit up by LED panels for the next 25 years.

More than 1,000 residents opposed the plans.

But Mr Khan rejected the development today, citing the amount of light pollution that it would cause for Stratford residents, its huge electricity bill and associated lack of “green” credentials. He also cited the impact it would have on heritage sites in the area.

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.”

Lindesay Mace from the campaign group, Stop MSG Sphere London said: “We are delighted Sadiq Khan has listened to everyone who opposed this development, something MSG Sphere never did. We urge them to accept this decision. Local residents have endured nearly six years of stress and uncertainty over the possibility that this deeply damaging development would be built right next to their homes, they now need to be left in peace to get on with their lives. 

“We would like to thank all the local residents who campaigned tirelessly to stop it. The decision today is a testament to the power of local residents and of grassroots campaigning, and to the value that can come from local politicians supporting them. We are proof that David can win over Goliath.”

A statement from Sphere Entertainment spokesperson read: “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.”

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