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US firm abandons plan for Las Vegas-style Sphere in London
US firm abandons plan for Las Vegas-style Sphere in London


Madison Square Garden Entertainment (MSG) has abandoned plans to build a Las Vegas-style Sphere venue in east London. The US company has withdrawn its plans as it did not want to participate in a process that was a “political football between rival parties”. In December, the housing secretary, Michael Gove, announced his decision to review the London mayor Sadiq Khan’s rejection of planning permission the previous month for the 21,000-capacity entertainment venue. MSG planned to build a 90m-high structure on the two-hectare site on the edge of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The venue, which would have been covered with LED lights, would have featured the world’s highest-resolution LED screen, along with immersive sound systems to host concerts, shows and sporting events. But the mayor ruled that the Sphere 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 said it was “extremely disappointing” that Londoners would “not benefit from the Sphere’s ground-breaking technology and the thousands of well-paying jobs it would have created”. The letter continued: “After spending millions of pounds acquiring our site in Stratford and collaboratively engaging in a five-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.”

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