London’s Marble Arch Mound To Close After Only Six Months

London’s much-derided tourist attraction, the Marble Arch Mound, will close its doors just six months after opening.

The artificial mound cost £6 million ($ 8.15 million), over the original budget, and charged visitors up to £8 when it opened in July last year. Overseen by the Westminster Council, the Marble Arch Mound was built to bring the British and tourists back to the city’s heart.

However, the attraction opened incomplete, developed a reputation as a major disappointment, and became a source of criticism and mockery from social media users.

The high budget prompted massive resignations. Westminster Council Deputy Leader Melvyn Caplan, who led the project, resigned after total costs tripled the initial £2-million budget.

Also, when the plants and grass on the artificial mound began to die, it was forced to shut down temporarily.

But the Marble Arch Mound will close for the last time on Sunday, the Westminster Council announced, saying authorities had ignored “clear and repeated warnings” about overspending.

Located on the corner of Hyde Park and Oxford Street, the mound promised to drive a “smarter and greener” future for the borough by giving people unique views of the city and an indoor light exhibition.

However, visitors were disappointed when they discovered that such elements were unfinished and that the scaffolding used to develop the structure was still visible.

On social media, people said the man-made mound did not have the lush greenery that the Westminster Council had promised. Others wrote that the views atop the 130-step mound were “disappointing” and called the attraction a “monstrosity.”

The New York Times ran a headline saying: “Londoners Were Promised a Hill With a View. They Got a Pile of Scaffolding.”

A Tory-led council review to understand what went wrong and ensure it doesn’t happen again pointed to the project’s high costs, describing them as “devastating” and “avoidable.”

According to the report, senior council officials withheld details and lied about possible gains from the mound. There was also a basic project management flaw, it added.

Labor councilors have also criticized the attraction, saying it has been “a disaster from start to finish.” Councilor Paul Dimoldenberg commented: “The Conservative councilors responsible for the Marble Arch Mound should hang their heads in shame and apologize to the people of Westminster for wasting so much public money.”

However, organizers claim that the artificial mound “has done what it was built to do” as it has drawn crowds and helped the area recover from the pandemic-induced financial damage.