By Lana Sterling
Plans to build a Las Vegas-style ‘Sphere’ venue on the former Olympic Park site in east London have been officially withdrawn by US-based Madison Square Garden Entertainment (MSG). The decision follows a lengthy planning saga and a rejection by London Mayor Sadiq Khan in November last year.
Khan’s ruling said the venue would cause “significant light intrusion resulting in significant harm to the outlook of neighbouring properties, detriment to human health, and significant harm to the general amenity enjoyed by residents of their own homes”.
In a letter to the Planning Inspectorate, MSG expressed its disappointment at the missed opportunities for ground-breaking technology and job creation promised by the 21,000-capacity Sphere venue. The company had invested millions in acquiring the 4.7-acre site and expressed frustration at a process it saw as a “political football between rival parties”.
A report by advisory firm EY commissioned by MSG, the Sphere was projected to create up to 3,200 jobs across the UK and contribute £2.5 billion to London’s economy in its first 20 years.
While MSG has said it is committed to working with “forward-thinking cities”, the cancellation marks the end of a high-profile project that promised to bring cutting-edge entertainment to east London.