Plans for a large sphere-shaped music hall in Straford, east London, have received a significant boost after being approved at a planning committee meeting this week.
The Madison Square Garden (MSG) Sphere is the brainchild of New York-based MSG, which also operates the world-famous stadium, and is described by the company as “a state-of-the-art music and entertainment venue. technology that will pioneer the next generation of immersive experiences.” Current plans for the site include an LED video screen all around the sphere, which will be used for advertising.
At a planning committee meeting on Tuesday evening (March 22), the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) – which was set up by the Mayor of London in 2012 to oversee the development of the Olympic Park site – approved the plans of the site, despite widespread local opposition to the idea due to its size and presence in the local skyline.
The planning committee meeting lasted more than five hours, continuing after midnight, with various figures presenting arguments for and against the new venue. In the end, six committee members voted in favor of the plans, while four others — all elected officials — voted against. Crucially, the plans have yet to receive final approval from the Mayor of London.
Those who support the construction of the site say it will boost the local economy and create jobs, both during construction and after operation. MSG said everyone employed to work on and within the site will be paid London’s living wage and 35% of construction jobs will be offered to locals first.
Paul Westbury, executive vice-president of MSG, said the company’s planning application had been “thoroughly assessed” by the planning committee, and added that the venue would help Stratford become “a global destination for music and technology”.
Opposing the plan, however, West Ham MP Lyn Brown called the sphere a ‘monstrosity’ and expressed concern that it could put further strain on Straford’s transport, with the center commercial and the 60,000 seater London Stadium, which is now West Ham United. football stadium, both nearby.
There is currently no known date for the opening of the MSG Sphere if the green light is given.