Madison Square Garden has insisted that levelling up secretary Michael Gove’s move to temporarily halt its MSG Sphere London project has “no impact” on its plans.
Gove has issued an Article 31 holding directive, which temporarily blocks the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and the mayor of London from signing off proposals for the venue. The holding directive also gives Gove the chance to call in the plans under Section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
The move comes after opposition from local residents and AEG Europe, which has repeatedly voiced concerns over the MSG Sphere London’s proximity to The O2. AEG claims the LLDC’s decision-making process has been “seriously flawed”, adding that that the proposed LED-covered Sphere will add congestion to the local public transport infrastructure and blot London’s skyline.
However, an MSG Sphere London spokesperson tells Architects Journal that MSG is pleased with the progress of its planning application.
“WE ALWAYS EXPECTED THE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW OUR APPLICATION… THEIR FORMAL NOTICE HAS ABSOLUTELY NO IMPACT ON OUR PLANS IN ANY WAY”
“We always expected the government to take the opportunity to review our application for MSG Sphere London and their formal notice has absolutely no impact on our plans in any way,” says the spokesperson. “MSG Sphere will bring unique entertainment experiences to London and deliver many cultural and economic benefits, including creating thousands of jobs and generating billions of pounds for the local, London and UK economy.”
MSG Sphere London would become MSG’s first property outside of the US. Last March, the LLDC approved plans for the 21,000-capacity, 90m-tall venue in Stratford, east London, four miles from The O2 (20,000-cap) in North Greenwich.
Rock band U2 will launch the MSG Sphere at The Venetian in Las Vegas this autumn with the Live Nation-presented U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At The Sphere residency.
Earlier this month, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that MSG Sphere president Lucas Watson is no longer with the company.
“As MSG Entertainment gets closer to the opening of MSG Sphere in Las Vegas, we will be simplifying and streamlining our commercial structure for the venue, while leveraging existing expertise across the MSG family of companies,” said an MSG statement. “With these changes, Lucas Watson has decided to exit the organisation, and we wish him well in his future endeavours.”
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