London mocked the £6m allure to finally close

London mocked the £6m allure to finally close

The much criticized and ridiculed Marble Arch Mound in London will be closed for good on Sunday after six months and £6m in funding from taxpayers.

Marble Arch Mound opened on July 27 without the promised café, exhibition space or stunning views of the city, and it has been in trouble since it first opened, with Westminster City Council clearly acknowledging it was not ready.

The 25-meter-high mound of scaffolding and grass was commissioned by the council to be a post-Covid-19 attraction which brought visitors back to the area.

Project leader and council vice-chair Melvin Kaplan was also forced to resign after it was revealed that Marble Arch Mound had cost £6m, three times its initial £2m forecast.

The Marble Arch Mound in central London is set to close this weekend (Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

“We also instigated a comprehensive internal review to understand what went wrong and ensure it doesn’t happen again,” Rachel Ropatan, chair of the board of governors, said at the time.

The report found that senior council officials lied about how much money the heap would make, hid details and generally showed poor project management.

Soon after it opened, visitors took to social media to share their experience of the hill which costs up to £8 to visit.

“I enjoyed it,” said management and marketing consultant Dan Parker. “Maybe you enjoy the bad figurine of Cristiano Ronaldo, or Santa’s grotto with dogs pretending to be reindeer, more than you enjoy a dazzling spectacle.”

Twitter user Emma Franklin-Wright said it was the worst tourist attraction she had ever visited in London.

Trips up the hill, via a scaffold-like staircase, were made free from August after expected ticket sales failed, with councilors giving up on reimbursing any of the cost of the attraction. In September, a light gallery was later added in place of the promised facilities within the hill.

Confirming the pile’s closure and imminent demolition this weekend, Westminster City Council stressed that the attraction was only meant to be temporary.

The council said they were pleased with the project despite initial problems, with a spokesperson claiming “the heap did what it was built for: attracting crowds and supporting recovery in the West End.”

They added: “Central London’s economy has suffered more than any other region during the pandemic. With the decline in turnout and the almost complete loss of foreign tourists, many businesses have faced oblivion.

“We are really pleased that nearly 250,000 visitors have come to Westminster to see the hill and the wonderful light show inside. These visitors have continued to spend money in stores, bars and restaurants throughout the West End, to help local businesses get back on their feet again.”

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