Marble Arch Mound stripped of plants as £6 million attraction dismantled – South London News

By Jacob Phillips, Local Democracy Reporter

The Marble Arch Mound has finally been stripped after the £6 million attraction was widely panned and given nicknames like the “BTEC Eiffel Tower” by its critics.

New pictures show almost all of the plants and trees on the mound have been torn off, leaving only the skeleton of the temporary monument.

The mound closed to the public for good on Sunday, January 9 and it started to be dismantled on January 18.

Passer-by Kamilah Fraser had not seen the Marble Arch Mound before but had read about the maligned tourist attraction online.

She said: “This is the first time I have seen it in real life. It looks awful.

“It wasn’t open for long was it? I would have probably gone up it. I don’t think anyone will miss it. I think [the £6million price tag] is shocking.”

Arti and Ajay Sinha were eating lunch opposite the mound. The couple were on holiday for Dubai.

Arti said: “He thought it was hit by the storm. It’s got a lot of different shapes. I think the location is really good but it could have been taller. 

Ajay added: “I thought something had gone wrong.”

Ajay and Arti Sinha by the Marble Arch Mound (image: Jacob Phillips)

The mound has been roundly mocked since it opened last year and looked little like it was supposed to in planning pictures mocked up by artists.

Plants started to wilt and die on its opening day and the attraction was briefly forced to close after bits fell off.

Reacting to pictures of the stripped mound, one Reddit user said: “Shall not be missed!” Another asked: “Is this deliberate deconstruction or the result of the storm?”

The Westminster City council project was originally supposed to cost £2 million, but went £4 million over budget and ultimately cost taxpayers £6 million.

After the Marble Arch Mound’s budget overrun was revealed, the Tory-led council’s deputy leader Melvyn Caplan resigned from his post.

Westminster City council spent £1.1 million on scaffolding hire, £1.4 million on sub-contractors, £100,000 on extra fences and railings and £983,000 on staff.

A further £225,000 was spent on grass, flowers and tress for the project

Elad Eisenstein, the council official in charge of the mound, was paid £220,000 to oversee the project.

He also resigned after a review into the mound found it costs were “devastating” and “avoidable”.

The Marble Arch Mound was aimed at bringing people back to Central London and encourage them to visit the quieter end of Oxford Street.

It was visited by nearly a quarter of a million people as of January 7 this year.

The council set an objective in July to draw in 200,000 people to visit and climb to the top for views of treetops and traffic.

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