Crossrail objects to plan for London mega-venue

Crossrail’s operator is seeking to block plans for a “second O2” in London, over concerns flashing lights from the proposed entertainment venue could cause crashes, with trains travelling at up to 80mph. 

US events company Madison Square Gardens wants to build the 21,500-seat MSG Sphere London in Stratford, across the river from the O2 Arena. 

The entertainment and music complex, 120 m wide and 90 m high, will be almost as tall as Big Ben and also house shops, restaurants and a nightclub. If the venue gets the go-ahead, it would be the largest concert arena in the UK. Some 190,000sq ft of LED screens are planned to wrap around the exterior, displaying images and flashing lights that will be clearly visible 150 metres away. 

However, MTR Crossrail says the venue “presents a significant safety risk”. Its letter of objection says lights from the Sphere could impede drivers’ ability to see signals. This, the train company says, “is a very significant concern of ours”. Advertisements and other images endanger “distracting” those in charge of the trains, the letter claims. 

The intervention comes as some local residents have established campaign groups to prevent the building of the Sphere.

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