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RESIDENTS in east London are fighting against plans by a corporation to build a huge illuminated advertising and “entertainment sphere” that they fear will cause further disruption to their everyday lives.
The New York-based Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) has submitted a planning application to London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) to build the 21,500-capacity dome.
The site of the proposed scheme — on a plot of land west of Angel Lane in Stratford that MSG bought for £60 million — is as close as 250 feet to residential buildings and is surrounded by homes on all three sides.
Stop MSG Sphere London, a local grassroots campaign that is opposing the sphere, argues that the venue will have “significant impacts on residents, including light, noise and air pollution.”
The sphere would be situated near the Westfield shopping centre and would be covered by a 90m-high and 120m-wide illuminated advertising screen — which MSG plans to be “the largest and highest-resolution LED screen in the world.”
East Ham Central Labour councillor Julianne Marriott had asked Newham Council this week whether it would regulate adverts on the screen, and the council planning officers said “no.” Although the council has opposed the plans, LLDC will make the final decision on whether the project will go ahead.
Plans include a music venue that has “a haptic system that will convey bass so the audience can ‘feel’ the experience,” an outdoor gym and playgrounds, a nightclub and restaurants.
Local residents have said that as well as the proposed venue exacerbating noise and light pollution, it would increase overcrowding at Stratford and Maryland stations to dangerous levels.
Those stations already serve the big shopping centre, the West Ham stadium and the Olympic Park and become extremely busy on match days and at weekends when crowd-control measures are often put in place.
MSG says that its plans would include a new entrance and ticketing hall for Stratford station as well as scheduling events to run at different times to peak rush hours — but residents say the plans would still see overcrowding in stations and on platforms.
The campaign told the Star that they “need as much help as possible to fight the corporate PR campaign being waged by MSG.”
It is calling for formal objections to be made against plans for the sphere by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to Planning Policy and Decisions Team at the LLDC.
The deadline for comments was January 31, but LLDC will still take comments received after this date into consideration.
The campaigners revealed yesterday that a freedom of information request showed that consultant firm DP9, acting for MSG, tried to stop the LLDC holding recent public consultation events.
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