Massive (And Massively Controversial) Stratford Sphere Gets The Green Light

Massive (And Massively Controversial) Stratford Sphere Gets The Green Light
A huge purple globe rises above Stratford
The MSG Sphere London would be nearly identical to the MSG Sphere Las Vegas. Image: MSG Sphere London

A massive spherical entertainment arena in Stratford — identical to one opening in Las Vegas next year — has been recommended for planning permission.

The MSG Sphere London — brainchild of The Madison Square Garden Company, which manages sports teams in the US including the New York Knicks — has already caused huge controversy. Among those opposed to the plans for the 21,500 seater arena are east London MPs and residents, TfL, Network Rail and Historic England.

The 'Stratford Sphere' would hold a crowd of 21,500. Image: MSG Sphere London

They feel that plans for the 90-metre-tall auditorium/concert hall/nightclub would breach planning policy, take up valuable affordable housing space, steal trade from local businesses, cause congestion at Stratford station, dazzle locals and tube drivers with its bright LED advertising screens — not to mention look like a giant fortune teller's dropped their f**k-off massive crystal ball next to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

There's been much toing and froing on the project for three years, but now Construction News reports that the 'Stratford Sphere' as it's been nicknamed (could have been worse) has been given the green light by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which has recommended the building receives planning permission.

Some kind of trippy stage show
Not quite sure what's going on here, but it's something the Stratford Sphere will be capable of doing. Image: MSG Sphere London

This is excellent news for the Madison Square Garden Company, which says its state-of-the-art music and entertainment venue — which will sport a 19,000 x 13,500 pixel resolution LED screen — will 'pioneer the next generation of immersive experiences', not to mention create thousands of jobs.

But there's hope yet among its detractors that the Stratford Sphere plan's could yet be shattered. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has to give final approval — and remember, he recently nixed the controversial 'Tulip' skyscraper.

Elsewhere, Outernet London near Tottenham Court Road — which will also feature outdoor advertising screens, and was described by Diamond Geezer as "Piccadilly Circus on steroids" — is preparing to open.

Last Updated 23 March 2022