By Julia Gregory, local democracy reporter
Sightseers can watch how London’s newest tourist attraction takes shape from the comfort of their own homes.
A live stream is showing the building work on the 25m high grass-topped temporary viewing platform at Marble Arch Mound.
The £900,000 pop-up attraction is due to open on July 5 and it is hoped that it will help entice people back to the West End and give them an open-air experience before they hit the shops in Oxford Street and nearby bars and restaurants.
Organisers hope it will attract 200,000 ticket holders with “with millions expected to pass through the area to take a glimpse of the attraction”.
It won planning permission in March. Westminster Council is funding the £900,000 attraction.
The attraction next to the grade-I listed Marble Arch will be open for six months and tourists will enjoy a bird’s eye view of some of the city’s top spots including Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Edgware Road and Park Lane.
It will boast a viewing deck and 5,000 sq foot exhibition space.
It’s part of the council’s new £150m Oxford Street District plan with other partners to boost Central London businesses as they recover from the pandemic.
The area normally sees 200m visitors a year and supports 155,000 jobs. Pre-pandemic it added £13bn to the economy every year.
Earlier this year research by the New West End Company suggested that one fifth of Oxford Street businesses might not return after lockdown ends for good.
Some people said they thought the money could be better spent given the area’s economic woes because of the pandemic.
One objector wrote: “We have no tourists here, so who will be going up the mound? Those who want to put their selfie images online, not those who want to go and restart the Oxford Street economy.
“This is a piece of nonsensical rubbish along the lines of the Garden Bridge.”
Another Westminster resident commented: “Given current economic considerations and issues, this is completely unnecessary.”
The live stream sees the Marble Arch London BID – which represents 200 business – team up with Multivista.
The chief executive of the Marble Arch BID, Kay Buxton, said: “Marble Arch Mound is just what the doctor ordered, boosting the recovery of London’s hospitality sector – hotels, venues and visitor attractions in Marble Arch and across the West End, as well as pubs, bars and restaurants, as visitors take advantage of everything Central London has to offer.”
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