Marble Arch Mound: Westminster Council spent £660,000 tearing down attraction

Workers begin dismantling Marble Arch Mound in January  (Jeremy Selwyn)
Workers begin dismantling Marble Arch Mound in January (Jeremy Selwyn)

Westminster Council has spent £660,000 tearing down the Marble Arch Mound.

The tourist attraction closed in January after it sparked widespread mockery.

Now council officials have confirmed the price tag for taking down the 25m high man-made hill on the corner of Hyde Park and Park Lane.

The six million pound project caused embarrassment for Conservative-run Westminster City Council after an internal report found senior executives ignored and covered up major warnings that costs would spiral out of control.

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, the opposition Labour City Management spokesperson, said: “The Conservatives claim that the Mound was built to attract shoppers back to Oxford Street.

“But less than 1,400 people a day on average visited the Mound, even though it was free for the six months it was open.

“The business generated by just 1,400 people did nothing to revive Oxford Street’s shops.”

The Marble Arch Mound was hit with visitor complaints after it opened to the public in July last year.

A council spokesperson has said the £660,000 figure was included in a previously published cost of the project.

Debbie Jackson, the council’s Executive Director for Growth, Planning and Housing, said: “The cost of dismantling the Marble Arch Mound was included in the overall cost and this has not changed.

“The Marble Arch Mound drew in crowds and supported the recovery in the West End. Around 250,000 visits were made to see The Mound and the terrific light exhibition over the six-month period.

“Those visitors went on to spend money in shops, bars and restaurants across the West End – helping local businesses to get back on their feet.”

The council’s then-deputy leader Melvyn Caplan resigned in August amid the row surrounding the Mound.

Last month, the architects behind the Mound MVRDV slammed council officials for their “loveless execution” of the design and said it should have walked away from the attraction.