​Michael Gove pauses plans for controversial MSG Sphere Arena in Stratford

today24/02/2023 12

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Plans for London’s new MSG Sphere Arena have been paused under government instruction following opposition from local residents and owners of The O2 Arena, AEG.

Michael Gove, The Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), has asked for planning to be temporarily halted while ongoing issues are ironed out.

Plans for The MSG Sphere, which is set to head to Startford’s Olympic Park in East London, were approved by The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) last year. The proposed 21,500-capacity arena comes from the company behind New York City’s iconic Madison Square Gardens.

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According to a report sourced by Architect’s Journal, Gove issued an Article 31 holding directive, meaning The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) will be temporarily halted from signing off final proposals with the current Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

This comes after the venue faced opposition from owners of a neighbouring arena, The O2, and outcry from local residents. It also raised backlash from Newham Council for its giant orb-shaped design fitted with an estimated 1,000,000 LED light bulbs on its exterior.

“I’ve consistently expressed concerns about the MSG Sphere and its adverse impact on our residents,” said Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, urging Gove to pull plans completely.

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“I’ve written to Michael Gove asking that he call in the application for his determination…The health and well-being of Newham residents must come first.”

Speaking to Music Week, executive VP real estate and development at AEG Europe, Ailstair Wood, urged: “More than a decade after the Olympic Games, the LLDC’s planning decision process is now at odds with the views of the communities that it was set up to support and develop.

“Since these proposals first emerged back in 2017, AEG has consistently raised its objections to the unacceptable impact that this proposal will have on the operation of The O2 and the hundreds of residents who will be even more directly affected.”

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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