Plans for giant, lit-up dome approved for Olympics site

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The planned sphereImage source, MSG
Image caption,
The exterior of the sphere will show adverts and visual displays, which locals say will stop them sleeping

Plans for a giant, lit-up music venue in east London have been approved, despite complaints from residents.

The huge dome near the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park would be one of the biggest concert venues in London.

At a height of 315ft (96m) and covered with LED lights, the proposal prompted fears it could blind passing train drivers and keep local people awake.

The London Legacy Development Company (LLDC) approved the plans on Tuesday.

Image source, MSG
Image caption,
The London Legacy Development Committee (LLDC) says the sphere would be a popular tourist attraction

The company behind New York's famous Madison Square Garden (MSG) says the scheme would boost the local economy.

Planners recently said despite the scheme being controversial, it would become a popular tourist attraction.

They said it would provide "an attractive visual backdrop for people living, working, enjoying recreational time, visiting and travelling through" the area.

The outside of the Madison Square Garden Sphere will show visual displays and adverts, and will be one of the biggest and highest-resolution screen in the world.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service reported that more than 1,000 local residents formally objected the to the plans and more than 2,000 people signed a petition against it.

Campaigners behind the petition said the dome would block natural light to several residential blocks and disrupt people's sleep, due to the "bright light and advertising displays, beamed onto their homes from directly across the road."

Image source, MSG
Image caption,
Local campaigners say the dome, which will be as tall as Big Ben, will block natural light to several residential blocks

Concerns have also previously been raised by Transport for London (TfL) and Crossrail about possible transport disruption, with thousands of passengers travelling to the venue for events.

Crossrail had also said it was worried the glare from the lights could potentially blind passing train drivers.

The LLDC planning meeting heard residents would be given black-out blinds to deal with the light from the sphere as a "last resort".

Madison Square Garden's owners said they would take measures to minimise light disruption to residents.

MSG London added the project would be a £2.5 billion boost for London's economy.

It said it would create 4,300 jobs a year while in construction, and 3,200 jobs a year once open, with many jobs going to local people.

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