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Sadiq Khan rejects plans for Las Vegas-style Sphere in London

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has rejected plans for a colossal entertainment venue, the MSG Sphere, according to the London Evening Standard.

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The Sphere was proposed by the Madison Square Garden Entertainment Company (MSG) and designed by architect Populous. Upon completion, London’s MSG Sphere would have mirrored its Las Vegas counterpart, featuring LED panels covering its nearly 100-metre height and 120-metre width.

The proposed venue, to be situated east of the Olympic Park, included a 21,500-capacity main auditorium, a smaller music venue, a nightclub and various amenities.

Khan’s decision, centred on three main concerns: potential light pollution affecting Stratford residents, the venue's substantial electricity consumption (and thus its perceived lack of "green" credentials) and the impact on nearby heritage sites.

The rejection also emphasised the perceived impact on human health and the potential harm to nearby residents. 

The rejection aligns with Green party councillors' and environmentalists' concerns, emphasising the importance of preserving the character of the Stratford community.

Proponents of the decision argue that the proposed Sphere conflicted with the Olympic legacy of promoting education, culture and leisure. The rejection underscores the delicate balance between ambitious entertainment ventures and the need to address environmental and community impact concerns in major urban developments.

MSG expressed disappointment in the decision and they hinted at exploring opportunities in other cities if the London plan is unable to go ahead. A spokesperson for Sphere Entertainment said: “While we are disappointed in London’s decision, there are many forward-thinking cities that are eager to bring this technology to their communities. We will concentrate on those.”

Though Khan's decision holds weight, the fate of the MSG Sphere application now lies with Communities Secretary Michael Gove, who will make the final ruling.

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