The Orbit Is Losing £10,000 A Week

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 22 months ago
The Orbit Is Losing £10,000 A Week
This thing is proving costly. Photo by Steve in the Londonist Flickr pool

The ArcelorMittal Orbit tower made a loss of £520,000 in the 2014-15 financial year, a report from Labour London Assembly Member Len Duvall, has revealed.

These revelations are made all the more cringe-worthy because the sinewy sculpture — created by Anish Kapoor for the London 2012 Games, and opened to the public in April 2014 — was forecast to have made a profit of £1.2m by now.

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) — the team behind ensuring a 'legacy' at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park —  reduced its annual visitor forecasts for the Orbit from 350,000 to 150,000 last year. Even then, analysis shows that only 124,000 visits were made from April 2014-March 2015.

Said Duvall: "It’s clear that this is yet another Boris Johnson vanity project of towering proportions. Instead of paying back some of the £3m of taxpayer investment the Orbit is actually losing £10,000 a week, an awful record even by Boris's standards.

"It looks like we can now add the Orbit to the growing list of failed Boris Johnson pet projects alongside the Thames Cable Car, Estuary Airport and fault-riddled Boris Bus."

The mayor's office remains defiant, albeit with no real figures to combat those accusations of financial loss. An LLDC spokesperson from told Londonist: "The ArcelorMittal Orbit was one of the standout successes of the 2012 Games and has seen almost 200,000 visitors since reopening in 2014, which is a tremendous achievement.

"It is establishing itself as a popular visitor destination. As with any attraction, we are constantly looking at ways to enhance the experience to attract more people to this iconic landmark."

You can't accuse the LLDC of not trying. While people can currently abseil from the Orbit, next year it'll be turned into what it probably should have been all along — a huge helter skelter. The LLDC will be hoping this new funfair-inspired plan will put a smile back on their faces.

Last Updated 22 October 2015

londonx

It should have been the originally planned 300m height to rival the Eiffel Tower, that would have actually pulled the crowds. If you're going to do something, do it well, springs to mind! Instead we got an architectural set-piece thrown to the cost cutting accountants,

James Guppy

It was always, always going to be a white elephant. Better to have disassembled it in its current location and put it in a Central London park or something. What bloody moron forecast it was going to make a profit I don't know. Such "forecasters" should have their fee tied to the acuity of their predictions to make them a honest.

Jon Millwood

Walking through the park the 7 foot tall fence around it is quite ugly and off-putting. They should have just added a small fence around the lifts to restrict it to ticket holders.

Aselwyn1

Went there last October on a Sunday afternoon there was only 1 other small group so not exactly surprised. the massive fence's and the fact the stadium are closed don't exactly help

MattFromLondonist

I think the giant helter-skelter thing will turn the finances around somewhat, assuming they get the marketing right. Also, if I were running the show, I'd be looking to somehow couple the attraction to West Ham football club, who'll be moving next door in a year's time. It's already close to the club's colours. Rename it The Hammers Tower, offer half price to anyone with a ticket for a game, install the helter skelters and the thing will soon be in profit.

Greg Tingey

Yeah, well, says it all doesn't it:
It’s clear that this is yet another Boris Johnson vanity project of towering proportions.

Meanwhile, FOI request - perhaps "Londonist" could make it formally (?)
How much money is the Dangleway losing ( & costing us ) per year?

hostile_17

I have always thought it to be not enticing, and the desperate efforts to attract visitors was quite apparant.

But that Duvall person... what a twat. The quotes are just about milking exposure/laying blame... then the press release bog standard response is crap too.

It's basically everyone trying to out soundbite each other.