Local Green councillor for Stratford Olympic Park Nate Higgins has reacted to the news that the application to build the MSG Sphere has been withdrawn, despite Michael Gove attempting to reverse London Sadiq Khan's rejection of the projection.
Green Councillor for Stratford Olympic Park, Nate Higgins said: “It was always clear that the call in of the MSG Sphere was nothing more than Michael Gove's reckless attempt to embarrass Sadiq Khan, London's elected Mayor. Residents and every single elected representative for our area rejected the Sphere, and Michael Gove attempted to overrule us for cynical political purposes. He has failed."
The Sphere was rejected by Sadiq Khan after a groundswell of opposition from residents and elected members. Local Green councillors for Stratford Olympic Park, where the Sphere had been due to be built, Nate Higgins and Danny Keeling have been consistent campaigners against the project, as well the Newham's Mayor, the local MP Lyn Brown, and the area's London Assembly member.
Nate Higgins added: "Sadiq Khan's rejection of the project brought hope that people would finally be listened to. For no benefit to residents whatsoever, Michael Gove put residents through over a month of extra heartache over this completely unsuitable project. The applicants had already made clear they were no longer interested, but Gove called it in anyway. Locally elected members listened, in the end even MSG listened. Only Gove attempts to ignore what residents were saying loud and clear – that's unacceptable."
The rejection came after over half a decade of campaigning by concerned residents. Nate Higgins explained: "Nobody wants black out blinds imposed on them just for the sake of advertising screens the size of Big Ben and the London Eye, and it's clear that is all MSG were ever interested in. Residents deserve better than that, and that's without mentioning the chaos this project would have caused to Stratford Station and the Jubilee Line."
Calling for a positive outcome, Nate Higgins finished: "I've been saying for a long time now that it's time for a proposal to come forward that actually contributes to solving Newham's problems, not making them so much worse. The site can and should be used for social housing to help address Newham's desperate housing crisis, and I'm calling on Newham Council and the GLA to work to ensure that happens."
Councillor Nate Higgins uses he/him pronouns.
The MSG Sphere was an application to build a new entertainment venue next to Stratford station in between two major residential developments as tall as Big Ben, which would be coated in a Sphere of LED advertising screens. It had been approved by the London Legacy Development Corporation’s Planning Decisions Committee in early 2022, despite overwhelming opposition from local representatives and residents. In November 2023 Sadiq Khan blocked the Sphere in his stage 2 decision. The Sphere was due to be built in Stratford Olympic Park ward.
Stratford Olympic Park is represented by two Green Party councillors.