The deputy leader of a London council has resigned after the total costs for a 25-metre man-made mountain in the middle of one of the capital’s busiest tourist areas nearly doubled to £6 million.
Refunds were offered to the Marble Arch Mound, created by Westminster City Council, the day after it opened to members of the public on July 26 following what the authority called “teething problems” with the attraction amid complaints it was still being constructed.
When it opened in late July, tickets to the temporary attraction were offered between £4.50 and £8. For this price, visitors could climb 130 stairs or take a lift to the ‘summit’.
People were unimpressed and the attraction started issuing refunds to disgruntled visitors. Then, two days after it opened, it closed, after it was inundated with continued criticism. It is now open again but is free. A green elephant?
The council’s leader, Rachael Robathan, said in a statement on Friday her deputy Melvyn Caplan had resigned with immediate effect after a “totally unacceptable” rise in costs.
“The Mound opened too early, and we have apologised for that,” Ms Robathan said.
“It has become clear that costs have risen more than anticipated and that is totally unacceptable. Our original forecast cost was £3.3 million. Total costs are now £6m, 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”
The 25-metre mound, planned by Dutch architect company MVRDV, was designed to give views of the capital’s Oxford Street, Hyde Park, Mayfair and Marylebone.
Westminster Council blocks the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, then can’t work out why people don’t enjoy shopping on a busy road, so instead commissions a giant scaffold mound in an attempt to get people to visit, now the mound is a financial mess. https://t.co/gG5UvYYKCK— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) August 13, 2021
Staggering incompetence from Westminster Council as it emerges that the cost of the ‘Marble Arch mound’ is three times higher than first announced. £6 million of taxpayers money squandered while vital services are struggling to meet needs! https://t.co/ZHufneizCp— Karen Buck (@KarenPBuckMP) August 13, 2021
Celebration of post Britain Brexit; a heap of sh1t.— #ToriesOut (@ladyjenkin) August 13, 2021
Tory councillor wasting public money… why are we surprised?— Stevedover ? (@Docdover) August 13, 2021
Interesting the BBC article doesn’t mention the political party in power at Westminster Council.— Steve Cooper (@kebablog) August 13, 2021
Surely there must have been voices saying, “Now just hold on a minute …”— David of Nottingham (@DavidofNotting1) August 13, 2021
Is there such a thing as organisational insanity?
Since you are here
Since you are here, we wanted to ask for your help.
Journalism in Britain is under threat. The government is becoming increasingly authoritarian and our media is run by a handful of billionaires, most of whom reside overseas and all of them have strong political allegiances and financial motivations.
Our mission is to hold the powerful to account. It is vital that free media is allowed to exist to expose hypocrisy, corruption, wrongdoing and abuse of power. But we can't do it without you.
If you can afford to contribute a small donation to the site it will help us to continue our work in the best interests of the public. We only ask you to donate what you can afford, with an option to cancel your subscription at any point.
To donate or subscribe to The London Economic, click here.
The TLE shop is also now open, with all profits going to supporting our work.
The shop can be found here.
You can also SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER .