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When U2 held a showstopping performance in the United States last week, the audience were bombarded with incredible kaleidoscopic images that made their heads spin.

The Irish band played the inaugural gig at the Sphere, a gigantic ball-shaped concert arena which was very much in keeping with the glitz and glam of Las Vegas

Outside the view was similarly overwhelming – thousands of LED screens able to show almost any image or video you want, so bright they appeared like ‘a sun on Earth’.

But halfway across the world, people living in east London – myself included – looked on in dread with visions of what is to come.

That’s because plans have been approved to build a similar 21,500-capacity venue in the heart of Stratford, despite overwhelming opposition from the thousands of people living here.

When people talked about the rejuvenation of Newham and east London, and the Olympic legacy, I doubt they meant building a monstrous ball the size of Big Ben and turning it into a tacky tourist trap like Las Vegas.

The prospect of having a 300ft-tall sphere, complete with glowing, animated adverts, is enough to make many seriously think about leaving what is supposed to be an up-and-coming part the capital.

Matthew Lodge stands on his balcony overlooking the car park where the Sphere is set to be built

Murillo Braga has said he is worried about the potential impact the sphere could have on his children’s health

The MSG Sphere has been given the go ahead in Stratford, east London, despite an avalanche of complaints from locals. Pictured: An artist’s impression of what the sphere could look like with an image of a singer displayed on the outside

Developers claim the arena would create over 1,000 new jobs and bring £50million a year into local businesses. Pictured: An artist’s impression of what the site would look like during the day with no lights on

There’s a lot to love about living in Stratford – the Olympic Park is right on your doorstep, it has a vibrant and welcoming community, not to mention great transport links into central London and all the shops you could want in the Westfield and Stratford shopping centres.

But at the same time, it is one of the most deprived local authorities in the entire country and something rankles about building a giant glitzy globe at a cost of £800million for people who don’t even live here. It bears all the hallmarks of a white elephant for people who live here.

Supporters have argued it will bring in £50million a year to local businesses, contribute £2.5billion to the London economy within 20 years and create more than 1,000 jobs.

Living less than 500 metres away from the proposed site – currently an empty car park that I can see from my balcony – I’m not thrilled by the prospect of being bombarded with huge glowing advertising displays so bright that the developer has offered to provide blackout blinds to residents in a bid to mitigate them.

For residents living even closer, just the thought of it is enough to send them running for the hills, with may already considering leaving.

Tenants of New Garden Quarter, a block that looks directly out onto the site of the proposed Sphere, say they’re fearful it will block out the sun.

Frances Rice told MailOnline she will move out if the project – which still has to be rubber stamped by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove – goes ahead.

‘I think it’s going to be a nightmare for everybody who lives here,’ she said.

‘If starts being building we will just leave; we’re renting so we can, but there’s lots of people who have bought here, so it’s a bit of a shame.

The proposed Sphere would be built on what is currently an empty car park, next to the Westfield shopping centre

‘Construction will be noisy as well. I don’t really see any benefits – maybe it’s good for tourism, I have no idea, because I live here I don’t really care.

‘With a big stadium so close, and lots of people around, I’m not sure it’s a great idea.’

The 32-year-old added: ‘I don’t think it’s good to push people out and not try to support the community that has lived here a bit longer.’

Pia Maitri, who rents a flat close by, said if she owned the property ‘she would sell it’.

‘Everyone is very against it. There have been some meetings that people have tried to prevent it, but the general feeling is that it’s going happen regardless.

‘I think [property] values will definitely go down because any person is not going to want to buy a place that’s got LED lights shining in it, and the noise,’ the 56-year-old said.

‘This station, Westfield, is going to be very cramped – they already have to close the roads when there’s a West Ham game, so that’s going to be worse.’

The mum added that planners surveyed the walls to see how light from the dome would reflect on the buildings.

‘I think it’s going to be pretty much like being inside the dome itself,’ she said.

Murillo Braga, who lives in a flat that would be in the shadow of the dome with his two young children, said he would leave for his children’s health.

‘It’s a very residential area, I think it’s not the best place to build it.

‘It’s something that will impact [people] very much, it’s too much light and noise.

‘It will being way too many people in the area, we already have West Ham stadium, so when there is a match going on, there is already crowds of people flowing through.

‘I will be probably thinking about moving somewhere else.

‘I don’t know how much effect it will be on our health, it’s very strong, maybe [there will be] long-term effects, I’m not sure, by the lights.

He continued: ‘It’s very bizarre. Why don’t they build a park in there?’

Residents have complained about the potential light pollution coming from the venue. Pictured: An artist’s impression of the sphere lit up with an image of the globe

The project still has to be approved by the mayor of London and the Levelling Up Secretary. Pictured: An artist’s impression of what the sphere would look like from the air, with the Westfield shopping centre to the right and West Ham’s Olympic stadium to the far right

A campaign group, Stop MSG Sphere London, has vowed to fight the plans ’til the last’ and branded the plans ‘ridiculous’.

Lindesay Mace, spokesman for the group, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘The fact that where we are now, on the permission being granted, is a travesty of justice.

‘The sphere is designed for Vegas, the city of lights. It is not designed for a small site that is surrounded with three blocks of residential properties.

‘Developers are insulting residents by offering black out blinds… some of our group live directly opposite it.

‘One of our members, she lives 75 metres away, her windows all face opposite the site.

‘We are going to have massive glowing advertisements blaring [into our homes] from one of the biggest structures the UK and Europe has ever seen, it is just ridiculous.’

At a U2 concert in the Las Vegas sphere last week, singer Bono described James Dolan, the US media mogul behind the project, as a ‘mad b******’.

The show displayed overwhelming images of the desert and animals to go with he band’s music, which was blasted out at the audience through 167,000 speakers.

Speaking to Variety last week, Mr Dolan said the project in London is ‘still very much moving forward’.

He said: ‘That is definitely a big part of the business plan, to build more Spheres all over the world. 

The arena would come with shops and restaurants. Pictured: An artist’s impression of people walking around the outside of the venue

Pictured: An artist’s impression showing people walking into the venue as it’s lit up to display an image of stars and the night sky

Plans submitted by the developer show the sphere itself could reach 300ft (90m) in height

The venue would be built on an empty patch of land next to the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford. Pictured: An aerial view of the planned site

‘And by the way, different-size ones too – probably not much bigger than the one in Vegas, but we’ve actually gone through already architectural drawings and designs for smaller Spheres for smaller markets.’

The developers have claimed the venue would bring in £50million every year to local businesses, while also creating 1,200 jobs.

A Sphere London spokesman told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We are pleased with the progress we are making. 

‘Sphere London will deliver many cultural and economic benefits, including creating thousands of jobs and generating billions of pounds for the local, London and UK economy.’

Las Vegas locals had words of warning for the people of Stratford though, as they compared the light given off by their arena to a ‘sun on Earth’

And after seeing the lights atop the nearly 365ft-high sphere from nearly two miles away resident Billy Cline, 36, said: ‘It’s almost like building a sun on Earth.’

Las Vegas Review Journal reporter Mick Akers said that while in his city, residents are ‘already used to it [bright lights]’, construction in a residential area (such as Stratford) could cause problems at night. 

The London sphere was given approval by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which was created to oversee the future development of the former Olympic Park.

An LLDC spokesman said that the the proposed plans involved ‘significant consultation’ and had been ‘subject to robust review and detailed officer reports’.

An MSG spokesman told the Guardian that they are ‘committed to being a good neighbour in Stratford and fully understand concerns of some residents’ and were ‘mindful of the differences between Las Vegas and Newham’.

They added that the London Sphere will operate at a limited brightness and at different times of day compared to the Vegas venue.

A spokesman for the mayor of London said: ‘As this is a live application that will be referred back to the mayor, we cannot comment in advance of any decision he may make.’

U2 performed at the Las Vegas MSG Sphere last week, with Bono calling the inventor a ‘mad b******’. Pictured: The band perform in front of a giant screen showing a view of the desert

James Dolan has said he wants to built more spheres around the world. Pictured: The crowd look on at a kaleidoscopic image during the U2 concert in Las Vegas last week 

Las Vegas residents have warned the sphere there was ‘like a sun on Earth’ due to the bright lights. Pictured: Images of animals are displayed inside the Las Vegas arena during a U2 concert

Speaking at the time West Ham MP Lyn Brown called the scheme a ‘monstrosity’ and raised fears about added pressure on local transport and in particular the station at Stratford.

The station is the fifth busiest in Britain and already copes with travellers to the Westfield shopping centre, West Ham’s 60,000-seater stadium and commuters travelling in and out of east London.

In her statement, which was read by a local councillor on her behalf, she said: ‘The last thing we need is another venue disgorging its audience into an already overcrowded transport hub.’

It is believed the advertising display could be subject to a ‘break clause’ every five years that would be subject to feedback from local residents.

In objections to the proposal submitted in 2019, local residents shared concerns the venue was cast a shadow over residents homes, increase pollution during a three-year construction process and cause significant light pollution at night.

One objector to the proposals said: ‘I am in deepest concern as this proposed building will be located right on my south side outside my window. 

‘Why there is no model to assess the sunshine impact against local community and no model to assess the LED light pollution caused and how this will adversely affect the health conditions of the locals?

‘There must be another way to bring in economics into Stratford and definitely not this 90m high joke.’

Another added: ‘Extreme light pollution and noise, particularly at night, will cause severe harm to residents’ health and wellbeing.’

More than 1,000 local residents formally objected to the planning application, while a petition calling for the project to be scrapped received more than 2,000 signatures.

The music venue will contain a 21,500-capacity arena, as well as bars and restaurants, and the project has been hailed as a ‘pioneer in the next generation of immersive experiences’

More than 1,000 local residents formally objected to the planning application, while a petition calling for the project to be scrapped received more than 2,000 signatures

Reacting to news of the approval last year, Londoner David Hardman said: ‘Words can’t express how disgusting it is that an unelected body can impose an unwanted giant advertising monstrosity in Newham.’

A resident added: ‘Big MSG Sphere coming to London Town. I, for one, am excited by a new venue but then again, I don’t live round there. Nowhere near in fact. Good luck with the flashing lights, all night, every night, Stratford.’

In a statement released at the time, an LLDC spokesman said: ‘The proposed MSG Sphere has been one of the most complicated applications considered by the planning authority involving significant consultation with local people, businesses and other authorities.

‘The applications have been subject to robust review and a detailed officer report. Following careful consideration, the independent planning decisions committee has approved granting full planning permission for the MSG Sphere, subject to conditions and a s.106 legal agreement securing a wide range of mitigation.

‘The committee resolved to grant advertisement consent subject to agreement on further additions to the proposed s106 legal agreement.

‘These additions will be reported back to committee for approval before the application is referred to the mayor of London. The planning permission will not take effect until a s106 agreement has been signed.’

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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