MSG Sphere Proposals – Take Action

Take action: Stop MSG Sphere bringing more cars to Stratford

Planning applications 19/00097/FUL and 19/00098/ADV

The Madison Square Garden company wants to build a new 21,500-capacity music venue next door to Stratford Station. It will be in the shape of a giant, glowing sphere (similar to Rover from The Prisoner), towering over residential blocks and the newly improved Stratford Town Centre.

We at Newham Cyclists are deeply worried by the proposals for the Sphere:

  • MSG have taken a look at the current travel patterns to gigs at the London Stadium, decided they’re acceptable (we disagree), and proposed exactly the same modal share for this new, ‘state-of-the-art’ venue. That means:
    • around 2,600 people driving to a sold out event—and a paltry cycling modal share of 0.1%. (It’s not like people will never cycle to gigs: the cycle parking at the All Points East festival in Victoria Park was actually full up!)
    • thousands more people through Stratford station at rush hour, making the station unusable for local residents and pushing many more people into their cars for short journeys.
    • We want a travel plan that aims for a cycling modal share of 5-10%, and doesn’t create worse overcrowding at Stratford station.
  • Cycling has been tossed a carrot in the form of an extended cycleway on Montfichet Road… but it looks just as bad as some of the older stuff in the Olympic Park. Interrupted by shared areas, with conflict between walking and cycling baked into the design. In 2019, we should be doing better.
  • More worryingly, their answer to the current pinch point and painted cycle lanes on Angel Lane (the Sphere’s main access road)? Narrow the road, so everyone—kids, grandparents, Disabled folk—has to cycle uphill, in front of lorries, artists’ coaches, speeding minicabs… the lot. This is bad. TfL have found that lots more people could cycle along Angel Lane in future (see TfL Strategic Cycling Analysis Route 7)—but if these plans go ahead, that will lock many of these people out from cycling here for decades. Considering we need to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, that’s plain irresponsible. We want an exemplar cycling facility here.
  • Newham Cyclists will formally object to the MSG Sphere application… but we need your help. You can send your own response to the planning application and tell LLDC and MSG that this isn’t good enough.In a hurry? Use our template to send an objection email. Click here and your computer will pre-populate an email. Don’t forget to personalise it with your name, address, and ways the Sphere will affect you!

Got a little more time? Write your own objection like this:

  • Send an email to planningenquiries@londonlegacy.co.uk;
  • Quote references 19/00097/FUL and 19/00098/ADV;
  • State that you formally object to the planning application.
  • Feel free to use or reference our reasons for objecting—but don’t forget, put it in your own words and use your own experiences. (For instance: Live near Maryland? Don’t feel safe cycling in front of lorries on Angel Lane to get to the shops? Do your kids go to school in the Olympic Park? Expressing your concerns in terms of the impact the Sphere will have on you, and your family and friends, will hold more sway with the planning committee.)
  • Don’t forget to include your name and address.
  • Send the email by Friday 28th June 2019. You’ve not got long, but it doesn’t take long to object—just five minutes to send an email will be enough!

Cake Mountain Ride Report

Steve’s report:

The weather was sunny and warm when 19 of us set out from View Tube en route to Upshire and the mountain of cake.  However there were many challenges that we had to meet before we could have our cake and eat it. We rode out of the Olympic Park under the Lea Bridge Road, the towpath was busy with walkers, joggers, cyclists and fishermen/women and on the water there were rowers, paddle boarders, houseboaters as we made our way through the distinctive areas of Springfield park and the start of the string of reservoirs extending north out of London.

Nesting swans were seen as the waterway became quieter and water fowl had more room.  We had a few punctures on the rough tracks and although we managed to fix them quickly we did find ourselves returning to the same back wheel.  

After we left the towpath just before Enfield lock, we followed the National Cycle Network before joining Sewardstone Road and then climbing Dawes Hill, which combined with too many cars was a tough challenge.  As we rode into Chingford passed Gilwell Park scout camp, we were surrounded by the forest and we climbed up to the Queen Elizabeth hunting lodge where we had another brief stop. Turning off Rangers Road we entered the forest and followed the tarmac track towards High Beech, the track had some steep sections before we emerged from the forest at the bikers tea hut.  We were soon at High Beech, which was crowded on account of the sunny weather, the forest was beautiful as we rolled on towards the Wake Arms and the busy A121. We negotiated this road without any problems and joined the small road that took us over the M25 and into Upshire and our destination, St Thomas’.

Arrival time 14:28, tea and cake served from 14:30, and with a large slice of home made cake for approximately £1.10 and tea £0.70, unbeatable value.

The ride back was uneventful with zero punctures.  We detoured from the canal and cycled around Hackney marshes and through the ever changing Olympic Park as our group reduced in number with people peeling off towards home.  We arrived back at Viewtube around 17:30 after an enjoyable outing. Thanks to Anita for back marking, Karen and Robin for marshalling, puncture repairs and photos; also Jonathan, some of whose photos are included here.

Steve’s Ride Report – Much Hadham Ride

The sunny and calm weather made for near perfect conditions for this ride.

Eight of us met at Leytonstone station as usual to take tube to Epping for the start. We followed the B181 out of the town and through the countryside to Epping Upland, Epping Green and Roydon. Over the river Stort and the level crossing and deeper into the Hertfordshire countryside, through the pretty villages of Hunsdon and Wilford to Much Hadam. We turned east and passed a field full of sheep with their newly born lambs, cross a ford on the river Ash and climbed the hill towards Perry Green. The Henry Moore studios and gardens are not open until 3 April, although some of his iconic statues can be seen from the road.

We rode through Green Tye and saw a pillbox that used to guard a long forgotten WW2 airfield. We passed Thorley woods where the notorious murderer Harry Roberts lived while hiding from the police. We took the back route through Sawbridgeworth and crossed the locks and railway line and we were back in Essex. The Fox at Matching Tye was our lunch stop, there were two other cycling clubs there, including a big group from Redbridge. I wonder if any had attended the Redbridge LCC meeting?

The last leg inevitably included the Toot Hill rollercoaster before climbing back up to the station to catch the train home. Well done to all participants, especially those that had not done such a long distance (38 miles) before.

Nuclear Bunker Ride Report

The weather forecast was predicting rain and some strong winds so the destination of a well insulated, dry and extremely safe bunker seemed perfect.

As usual we met at Leytonstone station cafe and took the tube to Epping, to start the ride. Although wet, the weather was not too bad and nine of us took to the hills, Toot Hill in fact. On our way out we passed riders from the Hainault Roads cycling club completing a hilly 50k time trial. Note that we only passed them as they were coming the other way…

A quick repair stop…

Near Navestock we had our only puncture, but this was soon fixed and we were on our way. Once again we entered the secret bunker via Beacon Hill, ignoring the warning signs, and parked our bikes next to the missiles for extra security. Following the coffee break we continued to Kelvedon Hatch and then to Stondon Massey and the Bricklayers Arms for the lunch stop. Refreshed we headed into the wind, although the rain had stopped, towards Ongar. This well cycled path took us past Greensted Church, back to Toot Hill and the rollercoaster. The advantage of the hills is that we were all warm as we concluded the ride at Epping. The time triallers were all long finished by then but we had enjoyed our route at a slower pace and witnessed the changing times as the secret place of greater safety for five hundred has become a museum .

As always, thanks to Robin for his excellent photos – https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/albums/72157690137332453

Greensted Ride Report

It was a beautiful, bright and cold winter morning as we gathered outside the Parisienne cafe at Leytonstone station for our first ride of 2019. We took the tube to Epping and set off towards Toot Hill and Greensted. This section is known as the “rollercoaster”, as the road rises and falls in a similar fashion, a great way to get warmed up. St Andrews church provided an interesting stop and they also have a range of preserves for sale using an honesty box, which provided a shopping opportunity for some.

Unfortunately at the Mill lane turnoff some of the group were separated. Thanks to GPS and mobile phones we were easily able to identify a rendezvous point, the Top Oak pub, in Stapleford Abbots and this also became the lunch stop. Refreshed and sated we continued to Lambourne End then down the hill to Abridge, the intended lunch stop, over the river Roding at Passingford bridge and on to Theydon Bois. From here we had to carry our bikes over the footbridge to take the train back to Leytonstone.
It was a great ride with a good turnout, sixteen riders of different ages and abilities riding the scenic, mostly traffic free, Essex lanes under the bright winter sun.

Fantastic photos (as ever) by Robin can be seen here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/sets/72157704559216201

WI Suffragette Ride

A group from Newham Cyclists and the Forest Gate WI set off from Forest Gate to Tower Hamlets library to visit an exhibition on the East London Suffragettes.

Our route took us through the Olympic Park, Victoria Park and Mile End Park. We discovered that the East London suffragettes not only campaigned for votes for women (and men who did not have the vote) but also provided support for those in need via their campaigns against food poverty and also via their ‘pay-what-you-can’ restaurants’, one of which was recreated at the exhibition:

We returned home after lunch and a leisurely 12 mile ride.