East London residents faced with living next to the new largest music venue in the country, are opposing the construction of the ‘sun-blocking’ MSG Sphere overlooking the Olympic Park.
If plans go ahead, the MSG centre would be the largest capacity concert arena in the UK, outstripping Manchester Arena (21,000 people) and London’s O2 arena (20,000 people).
The venue would host concerts, immersive experiences, corporate events, award shows, and sporting events. At 120 meters wide and 90 meters high, will be the same diameter as the London Eye, and almost as tall as Big Ben. The sperical shaped arena will be covered in a skin of LED panels to display HD concert footage or adverts.
The illuminated imagery will be clearly visible from houses 150 meters away. Residents are concerned the sphere would block sunlight and bright LED lights would keep them awake at night.
The planning application, submitted by Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) last month, has faced strong opposition from Newham residents. The pressure group ‘Against the MSG Sphere London’ and its Change.org petition has gained 509 signatures.
The site has been left empty for over six years, last being used as a temporary coach park during the 2012 Olympic Games. Nano Kelil, a member of Against the MSG Sphere London said: ‘Thousands of people are homeless or living in overcrowded accommodation, this land could be used to build more affordable housing.’ He added: ‘What this MSG sphere will bring to the area: drunken nights, noise, drugs, prostitution and crimes.’ Newham has the highest homelessness rates in London.
The LED screen cladding of the MSG sphere will project advertisements, as well as concert footage.
Jayne McGivern, MSG’s Executive Vice President of Development and Construction, said: ‘This is an opportunity to take an inaccessible coach park and use it to support thousands of jobs, and billions of pounds of economic benefit.
‘Our plans make training and local hiring a priority and would create a premier destination that serves as a long-term investment in the future of Newham, London, and the UK.’
MSG will generate an estimated £50m in revenue every year for local businesses in Newham. The three-year construction phase will create 4,300 jobs, and generate £2.7bn of revenue over 20 years, according to analysis by EY on behalf of MSG.
The planning document said London lacks major concert venues, as there are only two – the O2 Arena and Wembley Arena – whereas New York has seven.
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