United Kingdom

Opposition hits London's next landmark: Glowing orb nearly Big Ben's height called '90m high joke'

A huge 90-metre-high giant music venue which has 36million lights on the outside of it to show adverts is feared to be London's next 'Marble Arch Mound' amid growing opposition.

The Madison Square Garden Company is trying to make its scheme for the huge half-orb pass planning permission.

It wants it to be built on a former coach park near the Olympic Stadium in Stratford and says it will be a 'world leading, technologically advanced entertainment and music venue'.

A decision on whether it gets planning permission from London Legacy Development Corporation is still pending but the concept has been panned by neighbours.

They are worries about massive extra footfall in the area and the idea of showing advertising on the exterior of the building, in a style not unlike the futuristic Blade Runner films. A mock-up video by protesters suggests it could be disruptive. 

MSG say it will only be switched on when the venue is open, not 24 hours, and will be able to dimmed if necessary. It insists its polling suggests as high as 85 per cent of people support it.

One objector to the proposals said: 'I am in deepest concern as this proposed building will be located right on my south side outside my window. Why there is no model to assess the sunshine impact against local community and no model to assess the LED light pollution caused and how this will adversely affect the health conditions of the locals?

'There must be another way to bring in economics into Stratford and definitely not this 90m high joke.'

Another added: 'Extreme light pollution and noise, particularly at night, will cause severe harm to residents' health and wellbeing.'

And a further neighbour said: 'What are the guarantees in terms of light pollution? The first thing my family will see every morning is the sphere. The last thing we will see at night is the sphere.

'Both bedrooms and the living room have a double window that will open directly out onto the 'sphere'. Any colour on the sphere will bathe our flat in that colour.'

The music venue will have 36million lights on the outside of it to show adverts and what is going on inside the venue

Families also fear the venue will dramatically increase footfall, which could lead to a rise in crime and anti-social behaviour

This planning document picture shows the sheer scale of how the building will be put up and residents living nearby to site

TV presenter Maya Jama presented an expensive-looking video for the project, calling it 'Great news for music fans'

There is even an official campaign group called Stop MSG Sphere made up of people living in Newham.

They say: 'We are terrified by the prospect of the proposed MSG Sphere that will severely blight the area, cause noise and light pollution, unmanageable overcrowding and transport chaos in Stratford and Maryland.

'The site of the proposed scheme is as close as 250 feet to residential properties and is surrounded by densely residential buildings on all 3 sides.' 

There are also concerns from nearby train drivers who fear they may be blinded by the bright lights of the massive ball.

It comes just days after another gigantic multi-million London project, the Marble Arch Mound, was savaged by London families.

The manmade hill was mauled over its poor execution with many branding it an eyesore that ruined the view. 

But MSG say its venue will only boost the area and could host as many as 21,500 concert-goers and would be by a long way Britain's biggest music venue.

It says its shape would have a 'fully-programmable exterior that serves as a digital showcase for the venue, artists and partners'

Rendering of the MSG Sphere, a planned concert venue for Stratford, east London, when the exterior is not showing anything

onstruction continues during a tour of the Madison Square Garden Sphere at The Venetian in Las Vegas earlier this month

An interior view as construction continues during a tour of the Madison Square Garden Sphere at The Venetian in Las Vegas o

A flashy video online made by them is hosted by TV star Maya Jama and bills the venue as 'exciting news for music fans'.

In Las Vegas one has already been cleared for planning permission and is nearly built, with pictures showing the sheer scale of the project. 

Its price tag of $1.66 billion (£1.15billion) is expected to increase before opening due to growing costs.

The land for the London sphere has already been bought by MSG in confidence of being given planning permission.

At the moment the largest capacity music venue is Manchester Arena, followed by the O2 Arena, formerly the Millennium Dome, at 20,000.

The first proposals for the new venue were revealed in 2018 and were backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan and former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, in his previous role as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Mr Khan said at the time: 'From intimate grassroots music venues to spectacular arenas, London's buzzing live music scene is world-renowned.

Backed the sphere: Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan praised plans for the venue

The Marble Arch Mound, a temporary installation commissioned by the Westminster Council, has been ridiculed

'It's great to welcome another world-class venue to the capital, to confirm London's position as a music powerhouse and to boost still further our city's thriving night-time economy.'

Mr Hancock trilled in 2018: 'It's great news that the world-famous Madison Square Garden Company has chosen London to be home for its first international venue. This cements both the capital and UK's reputation for leading the world in music and the creative industries.

'This ground-breaking arena in East London will not only create jobs, but help us continue to develop incredible artists, music, and innovative technology that will give fans an amazing experience.'

MSG said its new plans showed it was listening to neighbours and most were in favour.

A spokesperson added: 'Our updated plans for MSG Sphere provide more detail about our proposal to create a state-of-the-art entertainment venue, which will bring ground-breaking events, millions of pounds of investment to Newham and thousands of jobs to East London and the UK.

'Throughout the entire planning process we have been listening to and acting on feedback from the LLDC and the community in East London.

'As a result we've seen overwhelming support for MSG Sphere — a commissioned opinion poll of Newham residents demonstrated 85% of adults supported and only 4% opposed.'

Football news:

Nothing special was expected from the Arsenal and Tottenham derbies, but the fire came out. However, Emirates has never been so noisy
Nuno about 1:3 with Arsenal: Not our day. I take responsibility, the decisions did not meet the game plan
Mourinho is the first Roma coach to lose his debut derby, after Luis Enrique in 2011
Kane has 0 goals in the first 5 matches of the Premier League season. This is his worst start since 2015
Barca coach Schroider: We lacked the qualities of Fati. We will have a very powerful squad when everyone returns
Barcelona Interrupted a series of 3 matches without a win
Saka has 20 assists for Arsenal since the start of last season. This is the best result in the club