I read an article about the Marble Arch Mound with both amusement and bemusement. The deputy leader of Westminster City Council stepped down because it cost £6m rather than the £3.3m it was supposed to cost.
I'll stop you right there. Why would any council spend £3.3m on a small hill in the first place? The landscape across the country provides small hills for free.
The council had hoped the mound would:
Attract 200,000 ticket holders with millions expected to pass through the area to take a glimpse of the attraction before it is taken down in January 2022.
For this privilege they expected people to pay between £4.50 and £8.00.
One person told the BBC:
It's a bit weird you have to pay to walk up a hill.
Which sums things up nicely. They eventually let people walk up the hill for free. They said they did that because all the grass started dying, but I expect they didn't get many takers for the entrance fee. Maybe fewer insane people visited London than they expected.
I kept looking for other things that must surely be included with the ticket price. The chance to see a rare bird or a hippopotamus; the answer to life, the universe and everything atop the mound; maybe even just a cup of tea.
Alas no, it really is just a 25 metre mound of earth with some steps up the side.
Westminster City Council are conducting a review to find out what went wrong with the idea. I can at least save them some money there. It's quite obvious. They let a blithering idiot make an insane decision.
One company is enjoying the hill, though. A Dutch architect company called MVRDV was commissioned to design the hill, and they claim:
Doing nothing was never an option. So when the mound fully reopens in September, I hope that people will come and see it for themselves.
The mound may delight or divide views and that's OK, but we're confident that in the end it will fulfil its original brief - to get people back into the West End and remind them of why this is a world class city.
It's more likely to remind people of the sort of buffoonery councils get up to.