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MSG Sphere London plans to be debated next week

AEG has repeated its opposition to the rival scheme, which will go before LLDC's planning committee on 22 March

By James Hanley on 14 Mar 2022

MSG Sphere London

AEG has repeated its opposition to Madison Square Garden’s proposed new MSG Sphere London venue after it was confirmed a planning application for the development will be heard next week.

The 21,500-cap venue, which would be MSG’s first property outside of the United States, is set to be located in Stratford, east London, across the river from AEG’s The O2 (20,000-cap.) in North Greenwich.

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) planning committee will meet to discuss the application on Tuesday 22 March, three years after plans were first submitted.

A spokesperson for AEG, which has previously voiced concerns over the MSG venue’s proximity to The O2, says: “We are calling on the LLDC to refuse MSG’s application for a new venue in Stratford and encourage the Mayor of London to formally oppose this project in order to protect Newham’s residents and existing businesses from this inappropriate development.

“The proposals would exacerbate congestion at the already over-crowded Stratford Station, and no additional train services are proposed to mitigate the impact on the Jubilee Line. It has been suggested that various further modelling and assessment be undertaken post-planning meaning that the full impact of the proposals is simply not known.”

“AEG have always maintained we do not oppose competition in the live entertainment sector”

AEG insists it is not against competition, but argues the area is already well served by existing venues.

“AEG have always maintained we do not oppose competition in the live entertainment sector, or another large music venue in London, but it should not be built so close to The London Stadium, Copper Box, Westfield and The O2,” adds the spokesperson. “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.”

A 2019 investigation by The Times found that AEG had created a residents’ group to oppose the scheme.

“Our plans are not about competition,” MSG’s EVP of development and construction Jayne McGivern said at the time. “Examples from New York and Los Angeles suggest that a new arena would grow the market and complement London’s existing venues by expanding booking options and allowing more artists to perform in the city.

“We had hoped the owners of existing arenas in London would welcome innovation, diversity, and choice, and it’s extremely disappointing to us that they have not.”

 


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