// Planning permission granted for the construction of temporary 25m hill at Marble Arch
// It will open on June 21, when all Covid restrictions are lifted, and will operate for 6 months
// The Marble Arch hill forms part of a wider £150m strategy to revive Oxford Street & West End
A 25m climbable artificial hill at Marble Arch as part of a wider £150 million revamp of Oxford Street has been granted planning permission and will open on June 21.
Construction work has begun on a large mound of soil next to Marble Arch, on the western end of Oxford Street, to create an artificial, temporary hill and platform providing views over Hyde Park and the West End.
The hill is now slated to open on June 21, the date when all Covid-19 restrictions are due to be lifted, and will operate for six months.
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The artificial hill will also feature include a walking path around the sides, along with an exhibition and event space.
Once the hill is ready to be taken down, the trees and landscape used to build it will be relocated to other parts of the district and local community.
The aim of the project is to lure back shoppers and tourists after central London after the district was battered by three lockdowns and various other restrictions, such as a plunge in office workers and tourists due to stay at home orders and travel restrictions.
The pandemic has also claimed some of Oxford Street’s star retailers – namely Debenhams and Topshop, both of which went into administration last December and have left behind huge vacant lots.
Westminster City Council said the Marble Arch hill forms part of a wider £150 million strategy to revive Oxford Street and the wider West End district through its Oxford Street District framework, which is being developed with key strategic partners.
“We needed to make the area more attractive and greener, and it’s really important to have tangible projects – we wanted something that can attract people back to the West End,” Westminster Council’s Oxford Street programme director Elad Eisenstein told The Telegraph.
“The diversification of uses is really important, and we know it’s got to be more than just retail.
“There’s going to be more leisure, culture and art. As people shop more online, it’s about making people remember that experience and increasing people’s dwell time.”
Work is also expected to begin in the next few weeks on a interim improvements on Oxford Street, such as wider pedestrian spaces, more trees and greenery along streets, and new lighting.
There are also plans for a zero emissions transport network, more restaurants and pop-up shops, cultural and leisure activities, and new ways to support SMEs and reuse existing buildings.