LLDC approves adverts on 90m spherical complex, a condition of last year’s green light

Populous’ MSG Sphere in Stratford is a step closer to being built after overcoming an important planning hurdle.

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has voted to allow the display of advertising on the spherical facade of the 21,500-seat venue, which will be entirely covered in giant triangular LED panels.

The advertising consent was a condition of the planning approval granted to the highly controversial scheme in March last year, which led to an outcry from campaigners who said there was no need for the venue.

Aerial Earth Display - MSG Sphere - London

The venue will display advertisements and other images on its LED-covered facade

Opponents have also said the LED panels, which will show videos and advertising from dawn until late in the evening, will cause light pollution to nearby homes.

MSG, the scheme’s developer, said it would provide blackout blinds for homes with a direct view of the site and create a telephone line for complaints.

The corporation admitted there was still a “residual degree of uncertainty” about the impact of the advertisements despite extensive analysis as the “precise nature of the digital display is unprecedented”.

The LLDC has already granted MSG a 25-year licence to advertise on the building subject to the approval of a five year review mechanism and controls to ensure the safety of using the LED facade, which have now been passed. The local planning authority will decide if any changes are needed at the end of the five year period.

LLDC’s approval for the Sphere still requires the backing of London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The 90m-tall building will occupy a 1.9ha triangular site between railway lines next to the Westfield shopping centre and close to the London Stadium – the former Olympic stadium – now the home of West Ham United.

A smaller 1,500 capacity venue is also planned at the Sphere site along with restaurant and retail space. The scheme will include building new bridges over neighbouring railway lines.

Architect Populous was responsible for transforming RSHP’s Millennium Dome into the O2 venue and also designed the 2012 Olympic Stadium, a stone’s throw from the site earmarked for its latest proposals.

Building understands that delivery of the Sphere is likely to be carried out as construction management scheme. Firms that have already thrown their hats into the ring fo the job include McLaren, Sir Robert McAlpine and Mace.

The project team includes planning consultant DP9, M&E engineer Me, acoustic engineer Arup and cost consultant RLB.

Last year Building revealed that Ian Feast, former COO of the Battersea Power Station Development Company, was leaving to head up delivery of the Sphere. At the same time, McAlpine’s director of strategy, Grant Findlay, left to join MSG as well and is also working on the Sphere.