Londoners were promised a hill with a view. They found a pile of scaffolding.

London – Advance promotion for Marble Arch Mound – London’s newest visitor attraction – suggested that an Arcadian landscape be created in the middle of the city with spectacular views of Hyde Park.

At one end of Oxford Street, London’s busiest shopping district, will rise a giant artificial hill 80 feet high. at a cost of about £2 million, or about $2.7 million, Design Rendering Suggested that it would be covered with lush trees and that visitors would be able to climb to the top – and “feel the breeze“Against their skin.

The hill was part of a £150 million plan by Westminster Council to bring visitors back to the city center after the pandemic. in May, Time Out, London’s main listing magazine, described it as “visually arresting/bonkers”.

The reality turned out to be something else. Since opening on Monday, the mound has been widely mocked online as being more folly than a dream – a pile of blocky scaffolding covered in patches of vegetation that looks in danger of slipping, and it’s not easy to see. Not high enough for the top of the trees in Hyde Park.

“It’s a monstrosity,” said 55-year-old Carol Orr, a Glasgow tourist who visited the mound on Wednesday, who decided not to even attempt the climb.

“You can’t see anything there,” said Robbie Walsh, who climbed to the top only to have a view of a Hard Rock cafe and the surrounding buildings.

“It was the worst 10 minutes of my life,” he said.

The complaints, including that it was a waste of taxpayers’ money, are so dire that Westminster Council on Monday offered refunds to those who booked tickets, which start at £4.50. “We know that the elements of the Marble Arch Mound are not yet ready,” it said. in a news release, adding, “We are working hard to resolve this over the next few days.”

On Tuesday, the council suspended Mound’s ticket sales, a spokesperson said, noting that this was to allow time for the refund process to be processed.

In a telephone interview, Vini Maas, founding partner of MVRDV, the Dutch architecture firm behind the project, which has previously received praise for its work promoting green cities, said “it is a great pity” that the hill was finished. not done.

Vegeta is “a little docile, to put it politely,” he said. The vision behind the project was to create a space that would make people think about how the city could be made green and used to combat climate change, but this week that message was lost. Went.

MVRDV spokeswoman Irene Start said in a telephone interview that some problems arose due to the change in plan. The company initially hoped to build a hill on the 19th-century Marble Arch, which is similar to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

But the firm was told that covering the arch for six months would damage it, so it had to redesign the hill, making it shorter and steeper. He said that having steep walls made it difficult to plant proper vegetation.

On Wednesday, not everyone on the mound was in critical condition. Alison Nettleship, along with her children, said she had heard bad reviews, but decided to travel nonetheless. “We were prepared for a disaster,” she said, “so it was fun to laugh.”

His son Thomas, 14, said he loves buildings and enjoys watching the scaffolding up close. “People are impatient,” he said of the complaints.

The family intends to return in the fall after the trees change color, Ms Nettleship said.

The mound is not the first tourist attraction in London to be ridiculed. The Millennium Dome, a massive white tent built in the east of the city to celebrate the turn of the millennium, is now home to several successful music venues but 2000. was widely discredited after it opened in.

Britain’s prime minister at the time, Boris Johnson, was the editor of a magazine and suggested that the charm should be blown up because it was too bad. “There must be some form of public humiliation,” he said, adding, “I want to see everyone who eats the humble pie for the contents of the dome.”

Architect Mr Maas said he expects the Marble Arch Mound to be improved soon. But on Wednesday it became clear that whatever happens next, it will be too late for some.

Emma Wright, 39, a director at a public relations firm, said in a telephone interview that she visited the attraction on Monday because she liked the idea of ​​getting a fresh perspective on London. She is so in love with the London skyline, she said, that she has a tattoo of a cityscape on her arm.

But instead of a stunning view over Hyde Park, she could only see the park’s existing trees and neighboring construction sites. on Twitter, she expressed her displeasure, saying that the attraction was “the worst thing I’ve ever done in London.”

“I like to go into things that are so bad that they are good,” said Ms. Wright. “But it’s not that either.”

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