Westminster Council have been forced to admit that its mismanaged Marble Arch Mound project is actually costing local taxpayers a massive £6million, three times the £2 million cost originally planned. The ruling Conservative Party’s Deputy Leader Cllr Melvyn Caplan, who spearheaded the project on behalf of Council Leader Rachael Robathan, has now resigned after weeks of silence since the Mound first opened.

The Council have failed to officially answer any of the questions the Labour Group posed to it on August 2nd about the project management fiasco. However we know that no decision has been taken about a return to paid ticketing and that project sponsorship has failed to meet its targets, further raising the likelihood that Westminster residents will lose almost the full £6 million on the scheme.

Labour are renewing the call for an independent inquiry into the council’s mishandling of Mound and it will also demand an extraordinary meeting of the Council’s Finance, Smart City and City Management P&S Committee investigate the situation.

Westminster Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “This latest stunning revelation clearly exposes the hubris, incompetence and unaccountability of Westminster’s ruling Conservative administration who have allowed the Mound’s costs to triple without telling anyone.

There needs to be an immediate suspension of major schemes in the Council’s £150m Oxford Street District project, such as the Oxford Circus Piazzas, until an independent investigation conducts the necessary root and branch assessment of the council’s ability to handle big projects. At present no resident can trust Westminster to deliver what it promises, respond to legitimate concerns or spend public money wisely.

The Conservatives have misled the public about the true cost of their folly and it is clear to everyone that it is time for a change in Westminster. Residents will have their opportunity at next May’s Council Elections to hold Westminster Conservatives to account for their arrogance and mismanagement. The Tories just can’t be trusted with taxpayers money.”

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