Marble Arch Mound protest
Marble Arch Mound protest


£6 million Marble Arch Mound

The Marble Arch Mound is finally coming down! The Council has told us

“The Marble Arch Mound will close to the public on 9th January. The process of decommissioning the Mound will begin on 10th January, with the removal of the art installation and onsite operator facilities. Deconstruction of the Mound will then begin 18 January 2022 and our contractors FM Conway will erect site perimeter barrier. It is anticipated that the decommissioning work will be completed around May 2022.”

The Marble Arch Mound cost £6 million – three times the original budget – and entry up the Mound has been free since it opened as the Council had to scrap the plan to charge visitors because of the very poor reaction to the promised ‘spectacular views’ that never materialised.

UPDATE – The Council Officer responsible for the £6 million Marble Arch Mound fiasco was Westminster Council’s highest paid employee at £220,000 a year. You can read more here

Luxborough Street

We are supporting residents in Newcastle House next to the former play area on which the Council in now building on and where the enabling works are causing huge disruption. Residents say,

“The enabling works include the excavation of a large hole for a water tank.  Attempts to break up the obstacles so far have generated earthquake like shocks greater than the legal limit and have not succeeded in breaking up the obstacles.  That legal limit, established in case law is 2 mm/sec.  Often, the shocks have exceeded 3 mm/sec. Westminster City Council’s Project Manager advised that, starting on 5th January, the Council’s contractor will deliberately and for extended periods of time exceed the 2 mm/sec legal limit.  It cannot be correct that Councillors could possibly condone its officers allowing its contractors to act outside the legally defined limits.”

Western Eye Hospital, Marylebone Road

Following a review of fire safety at the vacant Samaritan Hospital (which closed in 1997), adjacent to the Western Eye Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has relocated some services from the Western Eye while more detailed investigations and anticipated remedial works take place. Services on the ground and first floors will continue, including the specialist A&E service and specialist outpatient services. Imperial say:

“If a fire broke out in the Samaritan building, there is potential for it to take hold in parts of the adjoining Western Eye building before being detected. Following receipt of the review, we have closed the two areas most at risk and increased our security checks around the Western Eye/Samaritan buildings. As an additional precaution, we are now closing the whole of the lower ground, second and third floors and will be resuming services from those floors in alternative locations as quickly as possible.”


The new owners of Selfridges are planning to open a luxury hotel as well as serviced apartments, as part of a major revamp of the store which was sold by the Weston family for £4billion on Christmas Eve. The buyers – Thai retailer Central Group and Austrian property firm Signa – now want to overhaul the Oxford Street site. Part of it has been empty since 2008 when the old Selfridges Hotel was closed.

Dave Hill writes about the history of Selfridges (with a link to a short film)

Oxford Street

Westminster Council has spent over £20 million on Oxford Street with most of it going on expensive consultants

‘Fitzrovia News’ summarises the recent Council debate about the future of Oxford Street

And the Guardian has published a photo-essay on Oxford Street buildings through time

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