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Controversial £6million Marble Arch mound has finally been dismantled

Contractors have finally started demolishing the ‘disastrous’ Marble Arch Mound in London today after the pile was widely panned.

The £6million eyesore, which experts have been scathingly nicknamed ‘S**t Hill’, is being dismantled after it was labeled the ‘worst tourist attraction in the capital’ and a ‘waste of money’ after six months of relentless ridicule and ridicule.

It was built next to Marble Arch in July last year in an attempt to lure shoppers back to Oxford Street shops to boost London’s economy after the Covid shutdown.

But reviews for the 82m mountain of scaffolding, timber planks and sod were so bad that Westminster City Council scrapped the £8 entry fee out of shame.

Much of the view of adjacent Hyde Park was obscured by trees, while many visitors found the vantage point ‘bland’ and obstructed by metal safety wires. Refunds were offered just days after it opened, after what the authority called “teething problems.”

One council chief even quit after Labor’s Adam Hug claimed the ‘snail heap’ had ‘put Westminster to shame all over the world’. The municipality also came under fire after it turned out that the total costs of the project had risen.

Contractors today began demolishing London's controversial Marble Arch Mound after the eyesore was widely panned

Contractors today began demolishing London’s controversial Marble Arch Mound after the eyesore was widely panned

The £6million pile nicknamed 'S**t Hill' is being dismantled after it was labeled the capital's worst tourist attraction¿ and a waste of money¿ after six months of ridicule and ridicule

The £6million pile nicknamed 'S**t Hill' is being dismantled after it was labeled the capital's worst tourist attraction¿ and a waste of money¿ after six months of ridicule and ridicule

The £6million pile nicknamed ‘S**t Hill’ is being dismantled after it was labeled the ‘worst tourist attraction in the capital’ and a ‘waste of money’ after six months of ridicule and ridicule

It was built next to Marble Arch last July as a way to attract shoppers back to Oxford Street after the Covid lockdowns

It was built next to Marble Arch last July as a way to attract shoppers back to Oxford Street after the Covid lockdowns

It was built next to Marble Arch last July as a way to attract shoppers back to Oxford Street after the Covid lockdowns

But reviews for the 82m mountain of scaffolding, wooden planks and sod were so bad that Westminster City Council scrapped the £8 entrance fee

But reviews for the 82m mountain of scaffolding, wooden planks and sod were so bad that Westminster City Council scrapped the £8 entrance fee

But reviews for the 82m mountain of scaffolding, wooden planks and sod were so bad that Westminster City Council scrapped the £8 entrance fee

Visitors queuing for the Marble Arch Mound in central London on January 9, 2022

Visitors queuing for the Marble Arch Mound in central London on January 9, 2022

Visitors queuing for the Marble Arch Mound in central London on January 9, 2022

Mountains of money: The Westminster council official in charge of the Marble Arch hill fiasco was paid more than the Authority’s Chief Executive with a salary of £220,000, making him the authority’s highest paid employee

Elad Eisenstein was in charge of the Marble Arch Mound

Elad Eisenstein was in charge of the Marble Arch Mound

Elad Eisenstein was in charge of the Marble Arch Mound

The Westminster City Council official who oversaw the controversial Marble Arch Mound project was the local government’s highest paid employee during his tenure – surpassing even the director.

Elad Eisenstein was appointed district improvement director of Oxford Street in October 2020 with a salary of £220,000.

His role put him in charge of a £150 million regeneration programme, including the dazzling tourist attraction.

Mr Eisentstein even earned more than the £217,545 paid to local government chief executive Stuart Love.

MailOnline understands that Marble Arch Mound has been visited more than 250,000 times since it opened.

It was designed by world-renowned Dutch architect MVRDV and built by construction companies NRP and FM Conway.

MVRDV has built a series of high-profile constructions, including the futuristic ‘Market Hall’ in Rotterdam, which has become one of the city’s main attractions.

It also designed an infamous pair of apartment towers in South Korea that were incredibly reminiscent of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, with a pair of towers connected by a “pixelated” cloud. The project caused an outcry and was eventually cancelled.

Winy Maas, founding partner at MVRDV, had helped spark anticipation for the Marble Arch Mound prior to opening.

He told Architect’s Journal prior to the opening: ‘It is a location full of contradictions, and our design emphasizes that.

‘By adding this landscape element, we are commenting on the urban design of the Marble Arch, and by looking at the history of the site, we are commenting on the future of the area.

Marble Arch Hill reinforces the link between Oxford Street and the park via the Marble Arch. Can this temporary addition inspire the city to undo the mistakes of the 1960s and restore that connection?’

Westminster Council was also enthusiastic about the design and seemed excited to see the results.

In the days leading up to the opening, Mr. Maas seemed to accept that the actual mound was not quite up to the standards of the designs.

He told The Guardian: ‘It’s not enough, we are all fully aware that more content is needed. The initial calculation was for a staircase, and then there are all the extras.

“But I think it still opens my eyes and sparks a heated debate. It’s okay to be vulnerable.

“Imagine lifting Hyde Park on each of its corners. Speaker’s Corner could be transformed into a sort of grandstand, with a perfect view over an infinite landscape.’

The mound cost the job of Melvyn Caplan, the deputy leader of Westminster City Council, who resigned after the total cost of the project rose.

Council leader Rachael Robathan said in a statement in August that Cllr Caplan had resigned with immediate effect after a “totally unacceptable” increase in costs.

1642769844 533 Controversial 6million Marble Arch mound has finally been dismantled

1642769844 533 Controversial 6million Marble Arch mound has finally been dismantled

Much of the view of adjacent Hyde Park was obscured by trees and surrounding buildings, while many visitors found the vantage point ‘bland’ and obstructed by safety cables

1642769845 767 Controversial 6million Marble Arch mound has finally been dismantled

1642769845 767 Controversial 6million Marble Arch mound has finally been dismantled

Refunds were offered to members of the public days after it opened, in response to what the authority called “teething problems”

It was designed by the world famous Dutch architect MVRDV and built by construction companies NRP and FM Conway

It was designed by the world famous Dutch architect MVRDV and built by construction companies NRP and FM Conway

It was designed by the world famous Dutch architect MVRDV and built by construction companies NRP and FM Conway

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Westminster City Council official who oversaw the project was the local government’s highest paid employee during his tenure – surpassing even the director.

Elad Eisenstein was appointed district improvement director of Oxford Street in October 2020 with a salary of £220,000.

His role put him in charge of a £150 million regeneration programme, including the dazzling tourist attraction.

Mr Eisentstein even earned more than the £217,545 paid to local government chief executive Stuart Love.

Their salaries were revealed in a document outlining the wages of all 179 Westminster City Council employees who earned more than £68,000 a year.

How Marble Arch was originally built as the grand entrance to Buckingham Palace

Designed as a grand celebration of British victories in the Napoleonic Wars, Marble Arch was designed by John Nash – King George IV’s architect – in 1827.

Intended as the state entrance to Buckingham Palace, it initially stood near where the central part of the building – complete with the famous balcony – now stands.

While most of the large panels and statues were completed in 1830, the King’s death that year led to the sack of Nash by the Duke of Wellington – the then Prime Minister – for overspending.

Designed as a grand celebration of Britain's victories in the Napoleonic Wars, Marble Arch was designed in 1827 by John Nash - King George IV's architect.  It was intended as the state entrance to Buckingham Palace and initially stood near where the central part of the building complete with the famous balcony ¿ is today

Designed as a grand celebration of Britain's victories in the Napoleonic Wars, Marble Arch was designed in 1827 by John Nash - King George IV's architect.  It was intended as the state entrance to Buckingham Palace and initially stood near where the central part of the building complete with the famous balcony ¿ is today

Designed as a grand celebration of Britain’s victories in the Napoleonic Wars, Marble Arch was designed in 1827 by John Nash – King George IV’s architect. It was intended as the state entrance to Buckingham Palace and initially stood near where the central part of the building – complete with the famous balcony – is today

Instead, fellow architect Edward Blore was commissioned to complete the arch in a less ostentatious manner.

The arch itself was completed in 1833, while the central gates were added in 1837 – just in time for Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne.

When the arch was overshadowed by Blore’s enlarged Buckingham Palace, the decision was made in 1850 to move the building to its current location at Cumberland Gate, where it formed a grand entrance to Hyde Park in time for the Great Exhibition of 1851.

It was broken down brick by brick and reassembled after a short journey.

In 1908, however, a new road plan cut through the park, keeping the Arch separate from Hyde Park. In the 1960s, the roads were widened again, leaving the Arch in its current isolated position.

In 1970 the Arch was given Grade I listed status.

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