Westminster Council has put up a wall of silence after questions were asked about the £2 million Marble Arch Mound – dubbed “London’s worst tourist attraction”.
Tory council leader Rachael Robathan has remained tight-lipped since announcing the beleaguered mound had one of the best views of London.
The Westminster Labour group has demanded to know who signed off on the project opening before it was ready and whether the project’s sponsors are committed to funding the mound.
Labour councillor Pancho Lewis said: “I want to know why [Cllr Robathan] was telling people the views were extraordinary when in fact you can not see anything. I want her to explain that to councillors.
“They made the decision to spend £2 million of taxpayers’ money on what is now viewed across the world as a big joke.
“When the mound actually opened they did the cowardly thing of putting the chief executive out there rather than take responsibility themselves.”
READ MORE: Marble Arch Mound faces cost questions as ‘flopped’ attraction now free
(Image: Jacob Phillips)
Since then the council has not responded to multiple questions from the Labour group about the mound.
The council are yet to say who was responsible for the sign off.
Cllr Robathan was keen to promote the new attraction ahead of its opening day in a video posted to the council website – that tragically cuts to a pan shot of scaffolding halfway through.
Speaking from the top of the mound on June 23, she said: “I’ve got the most fabulous view here right across this heart of London.
(Image: Jacob Phillips)
“I think it will really help by being something exciting and new, and encourage people to come back in.
“You’ve never been able to do this before, climb 25 metres above ground level right here in Marble Arch and view this amazing part of central London.”
But despite the leader’s best efforts to market the mound, it has received widespread criticism for its condition and was even called a “slag heap” and “London’s worst tourist attraction” when it opened on July 26.
Just two days later the attraction had to close as plants on the side of the hill began to die and turf turned to mud and appeared to slip off the structure.
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Westminster Council CEO Stuart Love apologised and promised the mound was “going to look great and be an amazing experience once we’ve got it going”.
He said: “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.
“We are working hard to resolve the outstanding issues and create an attraction worthy of our fantastic city.”
However, critics of the mound have asked why the attraction was allowed to open when sections of the pop-up sculpture had not been built, including its café and exhibition.
A spokesperson for the London Mayor said the city needs to look at ways to encourage tourists back into the West End.
They said: “Temporary visitor attractions can play an important role in attracting footfall to areas of London that have suffered greatly over the past 18-months.”
They did not comment on the specific issues surrounding the Marble Arch Mound.
Similarly MVRDV, the architects of the mound have said they will not comment on the work until the work on the mound has been completed.
Westminster Council told the Local Democracy Reporting Scheme an announcement was due on the issues in the coming days.