Marble Arch to get its own hill
Grassy knoll idea ‘a clarion call to the recovery of London’s hospitality and leisure sector’
23 February, 2021 — By Tom Foot
Artist’s view of the ‘hill’
PLANS to entice people back to the West End in the summer include a grass-covered viewing platform next to Marble Arch.
The 25-metre tall Marble Arch Hill would be set up next to the Grade I-listed national monument.
The scheme is part of the Oxford Street District framework that is looking at how to avert the crisis in the West End caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The latest footfall figures show the West End is back to the “ghost town” levels last seen in March and April with the number of people visiting down 85 per cent on the year.
There are concerns that after a year of working from home and with theatres and clubs shut, the commuters and crowds that used to flock to the West End every day in their millions will not return.
It has been developed by the council and the Marble Arch London Business Improvement District, among others.
Kay Buxton, chief executive of the BID, said the scheme was a “truly unique and once in a lifetime opportunity to see London from a completely new perspective”, and added: “Marble Arch Hill is a clarion call to the recovery of London’s hospitality and leisure sector, in an enduring, world-renowned destination.
“We hope that once visitors and tourists are able to return, that they take advantage of this spectacular attraction and while here, book a stay at one of the fantastic hotels located in the area and enjoy the excellent mix of restaurants, cafés and bars we have on offer.”
Organisers say the viewing platform will offer the public a chance to look at the capital from “angles they may never have witnessed before”.
The viewing platform will have an immediate view of Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Mayfair, Marylebone and Park Lane. Visitors will need to book in advance before climbing the attraction which will also feature an events and exhibitions space.
Marble Arch is a white marble-faced triumphal arch designed by John Nash in 1827. Its location, normally surrounded by traffic jams in Park Lane and Oxford Street, does not make it a well-regarded popular tourist attraction.
The arch also stands next to the former site of the Tyburn gallows, a place of public execution from 1388 until 1793.
If Marble Arch Hill wins planning approval from the council, it is expected to draw 200,000 people to the monument in the summer.
• To find out more visit https://www.osd.london/ project/marble-arch-hill/