The Las Vegas sphere isn’t coming to London after all

Sadiq Khan said the dome would have ‘an unacceptable negative impact on local residents’

India Lawrence
Written by
India Lawrence
Contributing writer
The Las Vegas Sphere
Photograph: Shutterstock/Paparacy

It isn’t usually a good thing when cultural venues get the chop, but this case might be an exception. There’ll be one less eyesore in London’s skyline, as plans to build the controversial Stratford Sphere have officially been axed.

You’ve probably seen videos of the spectacular U2 gig that took place at Las Vegas’ shiny new spherical gig venue earlier this year. While a giant dome might not look out of place among the garish neons of Sin City, in east London it probably would have been pretty intrusive. 

Pitched by Madison Square Garden Entertainment Company (MSG), the firm behind the Las Vegas Sphere, the 300ft high and 360ft wide dome covered with LED panels was going to be built just to the east of Queen Elizabeth Olympic park.

Locals were up in arms when the Stratford Sphere was initially pitched as London’s newest concert venue. With plans for it to be vividly lit up at all hours of the night, the giant glowing orb would likely have created significant light pollution. 

A detailed and damning report from City Hall found that the dome would lead to ‘significant light intrusion resulting in significant harm to the outlook of neighbouring properties, detriment to human health, and significant harm to the general amenity enjoyed by residents of their own homes’.

Hundreds of Stratford residents would have been affected by the London Sphere, which was also cited as being environmentally unsustainable given the amount of energy required to power its lighting. Sadiq Khan said it ‘would result in an unacceptable negative impact on local residents’.

MSG, meanwhile, 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.’

Michael Gove, secretary for levelling-up and communities, will have the final say on the future of the London Sphere, though it looks likely that the Stratford dome will live on as legend, joining the other London buildings that never were.

Also in Stratford, the West Ham stadium could get a new name. Plus, the area is getting a swanky new train station and a new V&A outpost. 

ICYMI: Earls Court could soon be home to a massive new neighbourhood.

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