Why was the £2m Marble Arch Mound such a 'spectacular flop'?

Tap above to watch video report by Simon Harris

Labour is calling on council leaders to explain why the Marble Arch Mound tourist attraction ‘spectacularly flopped’.

The £2m artificial hill, boasting grass, shrubs, and real trees, was commissioned by Conservative Westminster Council as part of a post-Covid revival plan for the West End.

Visitors were charged £4.50 to climb a flight of stairs to a viewing platform at the top of the wood and scaffold mound.

But it closed last week after just one day. Visitors complained the view of Hyde Park was blocked by trees. The council admitted the attraction was opened before it was finished.

Westminster later announced the Mound would reopen free of charge for the rest of August.

A London bus passes the Marble Arch mound

Opposition Labour councillors have demanded an independent inquiry to answer a series of questions, including:

  • Why is the finished design lower than intended?

  • Who signed off the project as ready?

  • How much will taxpayers lose?

Westminster Council’s website carries an apology from chief executive Stuart Love.

"We’re very sorry that the Marble Arch Mound wasn’t ready for visitors when it opened earlier this week," said Stuart Love, Chief Executive of Westminster City Council.

"We wanted to open the Mound in time for the summer holidays and we did not want to disappoint people who had already booked tickets.

"We made a mistake and we apologise to everyone who hasn’t had a great experience on their visit," he added.

Speaking on the council's YouTube channel in June, leader of Westminster City Council Rachael Robathan described the view as "fantastic', adding "it couldn't be better".