Plans for the Sphere, a Las Vegas-style entertainment venue in east London, have been retracted by its developer.

Madison Square Garden Entertainment (MSG) has decided to withdraw its plans for the proposed Sphere entertainment venue in east London. MSG stated that it could not continue to participate in a process that was simply a “political football between rival parties”. In a letter to the Planning Inspectorate, MSG expressed disappointment that Londoners would not benefit from the groundbreaking technology of the Sphere and the employment opportunities it would have created.

Last December, the rejection of planning permission for the structure by London mayor Sadiq Khan was reviewed by housing secretary Michael Gove, who called it in. However, Sphere Entertainment, a sister company of MSG, has written to Gove to inform him of their decision to withdraw the application and decline participation in the call-in process. A spokesperson for the company emphasized their commitment to working with forward-thinking cities across the globe that are genuinely interested in bringing the project to their communities.

MSG’s official letter to the Planning Inspectorate stated, “We confirm that we are withdrawing our application from the Planning Inspectorate process. After an extensive planning process involving various governmental bodies, including the local planning authority that approved our plans, we cannot continue to participate in a process that is merely a political football between rival parties.”

MSG’s vision for the Sphere venue in Stratford included the world’s highest-resolution LED screen, immersive sound systems, and the illumination of the structure’s exterior for concerts, shows, and sporting events. The 4.7-acre site, which had been unused since the 2012 London Olympics, was acquired by MSG. In November, Khan rejected MSG’s planning application to the London Legacy Development Corporation, citing concerns about light intrusion and harm to neighboring properties, as well as the impact on residents’ general well-being. Some residents near the proposed site expressed discontent after MSG allegedly offered blackout blinds as a solution to mitigate the glow emitted by the orb-like structure.

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