Westminster Council’s Oxford Street District Programme Director, responsible for the Council Marble Arch Mound fiasco, was paid £220,000 a year, making him the Council’s highest paid employee, earning more than the Council’s Chief Executive who is paid £217,545 a year.
The information is revealed in a Council document, ‘Senior Salaries at Westminster Council, April 2021’, which sets out details of 179 staff earning more than £68,000 a year and which the Council is obliged to publish each year under The Local Government Transparency Code 2015.
The Oxford Street District Programme Director resigned from the Council in the Autumn of 2021 after the cost of the Marble Arch Mound project increased dramatically from £2 million to £6 million, leading to the resignation of the Council’s Deputy Leader.
Plans to charge visitors for access to the Mound were abandoned following national, international and local media coverage which dubbed the project ‘London’s Worst Tourist Attraction’.
It has cost the Council £150,000 a month to keep the Mound open, after it refused to listen to calls to ‘put the Mound out of its misery’ and pull it down.
In October 2021, a Council internal investigation of the Mound project described the soaring costs of the scheme as “devastating” and “avoidable”. The report by the Council’s Chief Executive said there were “clear and repeated warnings” about the project being overbudget.
The Marble Arch Mound is first on the Daily Mail’s list of white elephants of 2021 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10115535/The-worlds-WORST-white-elephants-including-6million-Marble-Arch-Mound.html
The Marble Arch Mound will close on 9th January and contractors will take four months to dismantle the £6 million Mound, starting on 18th January. The Council says:
“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.”
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour City Management spokesperson, said:
“The Marble Arch Mound has been a disaster from start to finish. Costs have trebled from £2 million to £6 million. It has been dubbed ‘London’s Worst Tourist Attraction’ and has made the Council a national and international ‘laughing stock’. It is first on the Daily Mail’s list of white elephants of 2021. And to cap it all, the Deputy Leader of the Council was forced to resign because of the financial incompetence.”
“Now we find out that the Officer responsible for this financial debacle was paid £220,000 a year, even more than the Council’s Chief Executive. The Leader of the Council needs to explain why she signed off such an enormous salary. The Conservative Councillors responsible for the Marble Arch Mound should hang their heads in shame and apologise to the people of Westminster for wasting so much public money.”
“Westminster residents will have their opportunity to pass judgment on Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in May when all Councillors will be up for election and when Labour will be putting forward a positive and practical agenda for improving public services and ending the current Conservative financial incompetence.”