Destinations

London’s “temporary slag heap” reopens for free, with visitors flocking to make fun

London’s “worst attraction”, Marble Arch Mound, has reopened to the public, following its disastrous unveiling in July.

The mad-made hill was designed to give spectacular views of Hyde Park and the Marble Arch monument, but turned out to be a “temporary slag heap overlooking the Hard Rock Café”.

Other’s referred to the structure as “a spectacular flop”, “a pile of rocky scaffolding” and a “monstrosity” among other things.

One visitor told The Irish Times his visit to the monument in Westminster was “the worst 10 minutes of [his] life”.

The Guardian noted that the landmark was surprisingly “busy” when its reporters paid a visit on Monday. However, it added that most people were there to see if it was as bad as its hype made out.

And also because it is free to visit this month.

Tickets were priced between $8 and $15 during its original opening but Westminster City Council was forced to provide visitors to the $5.6 million attraction with refunds.

The mound was open for two days before the council closed it, claiming “elements” of the attraction were “not yet ready” for visitors.

“We are working hard to resolve this over the next few days,” it said in a statement at the time.

“People who visited the Mound today, and people who are booked for the rest of the week (including the weekend), will be contacted and offered a refund and a free return ticket so they can see the Mound at its best.

“The Mound is a living building by design. We’ll continue to adapt and improve London’s newest outdoor attraction and resolve any teething problems as they emerge.”

Upon its reopening, council leader Rachael Robathan said Marble Arch Mound was a small part of the council’s $284 million investment in the Oxford Street District, designed to bring life back to London’s high street.

“The Mound opened too early, and we have apologised for that. It has become clear that costs have risen more than anticipated and that is totally unacceptable,” Robathan said.

“Our original forecast cost was £3.3 million ($6.3 million). Total costs are now £6 million ($11.4 million), covering every aspect of the project: construction, operation and eventual removal.

“With regret, I have accepted the resignation of my deputy leader, Melvyn Caplan, who led the Mound project. We have also instigated a thorough internal review to understand what went wrong and ensure it never happens again.”


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