Edited 4/6/19 at 10am to add times and link for the events.
I have had some individual emails from residents about the MSG sphere planning application, and receiving the email below about public consultation made me think that a blog post on it might be useful.
So firstly, some basics. MSG (Madison Square Garden Company) have been preparing and have now submitted a planning application to build an enormous spherical venue on a piece of land close to Westfield shopping centre. You can easily find articles about it and some images if you google ‘MSG sphere london’. The land it is on falls under the London Legacy Development Committee for planning purposes – a planning body responsible for development of buildings and outdoor spaces in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic park. The LLDC area covers several boroughs, including Newham, and the planning committee that determines the applications is made up of members from each borough, plus some independent members with relevant expertise.
The first thing to say is that there has been opposition to this application, and the emails I have received from residents have all been from people expressing this, in different ways. I have replied to them to, and thought I’d say here, that I am purposefully not taking a personal ‘position’ on this application, because I’m an alternate member of the LLDC committee. In effect, I’m a substitute, so if either of our Newham members can’t attend any meeting, then I can attend and ensure Newham has both its vote. From a planning perspective, it is very important that planning committee members arrive with an open mind, and haven’t in effect made up their mind beforehand. It’s vital to consider the evidence presented on the night, and to balance how far the application complies with the policies, and whether the benefits a development offers outweigh the disbenefits. Apologies if this sounds mealy-mouthed, but it is really important and the legal necessity of keeping an open mind has been drummed into us all very consistently by planning officers!
If you want to know more about the MSG sphere application, the LLDC is holding some public engagement events, details of which are below. It’s important to note that these are not being run by MSG who are applying for planning permission, but by the LLDC who will determine the application. MSG have already run some consultation events. So my personal view is that if you are really interested in or affected by this application and have already been to an MSG event, it would still be worth your while attending.
But that said, in terms of having your views really heard, I personally think there is no substitute for emailing in your comments, in your own words, whether they are supportive or objecting. Information about how to respond to the LLDC is here: https://www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/planning-authority/view-and-comment-on-applications And the online information about the application itself is here: https://www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/planning-authority/madison-square-garden-planning-application
This is the email I and other Newham councillors ‘local’ to the planning application received:
As some of you will know, the LLDC Planning Policy and Decisions Team has received a planning application for a large-scale live music and entertainment venue. The proposed venue, the ‘MSG sphere’, would include a music club, nightclub, members lounge, restaurants, bars and create new bridges and pedestrian connections across the site.
It is a complex scheme with the potential for significant effects and so as part of the planning process we have written to local residents and invited them to engage in public consultation events. The idea behind the events to provide information on the proposal, an opportunity comment and to help them have their say.
As a local ward councillor, I wanted to extend the invitation, should you be available to attend. Please feel free to share the details below with your constituents or anyone you know that might be interested.
The events we have programmed are as follows:
• 4 June 2019 at University East London 4 – 5.30pm
• 5 June 2019 at St Paul and St James Church, 65 Maryland Road, E15 1JL 4 – 8.30pm
• 10 June 2019 at St John’s Church, Broadway, London, E15 1NG 5 – 8.30pm
If you need further information, please let me contact me or the planning team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Information about the events, including directions, format and more, is also available on this webpage: https://www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/planning-authority/madison-square-garden-planning-application