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MSG’s London Sphere plans officially dead

The company says it cannot continue to take part in a process that was "merely a political football between rival parties"

By Lisa Henderson on 09 Jan 2024

AEG MSG Sphere clashes

Madison Square Garden (MSG) Entertainment has officially withdrawn its planning application for a 21,500-capacity replica of the Las Vegas Sphere in east London.

In a letter to the Planning Inspectorate, MSG said it could not continue to participate in a process that was “merely a political football between rival parties”.

The project was first announced more than five years ago and was approved in principal by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) in March last year, despite objections from various parties including local residents, councillors and rival companies.

AEG Europe was a vocal opponent of the venue, which would have been located four miles from The O2 (20,000-cap) in North Greenwich, and has previously called on Levelling-up secretary Michael Gove to block the proposal.

“It is extremely disappointing that Londoners will not benefit from the Sphere’s groundbreaking technology”

In November last year, the Mayor of London rejected plans for an MSG Sphere in London as he believed the proposals “would result in an unacceptable negative impact on local residents”.

Weeks after, Gove ordered a six-week pause to consider whether to call in the application for the development. However, MSG has now informed Gove that will not be participating in the call-in process.

“The Sphere is the most technologically and artistically advanced venue in the world. It is not only an economic engine but a creative and artistic catalyst for the community it is located in,” writes Richard Constable, EVP, global head of government affairs & social impact, in the letter to the Planning Inspectorate.

“After spending millions of pounds acquiring our site in Stratford and collaboratively engaging in a 5-year planning process with numerous governmental bodies, including the local planning authority who approved our plans following careful review, we cannot continue to participate in a process that is merely a political football between rival parties.

“It is extremely disappointing that Londoners will not benefit from the Sphere’s groundbreaking technology and the thousands of well-paying jobs it would have created.”

 


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