It will be the longest enclosed slide in the world that will halt the downward trajectory of the Olympic Park’s Arcelor Orbit , according to park bosses.
The attraction, likely to open in the spring, is aiming to provide the Olympic Park sculpture with a surplus in five years, according to the London Legacy Development Corporation. This is in contrast to the £500,000 loss in 2015-16 along with a £2million a year running costs.
LLDC chief executive David Goldstone said that he was aiming to more than double the number of annual visitors – from the current 120,000 to 250,000 – who will pay roughly £17 (£12 entry, £5 a go) for the spiral journey to the ground. The cost of installing the slide was revealed as £3.5million.
Mr Goldstone was bullish about the Orbit’s record thus far, saying it had established itself among the capital’s top 20 attractions in its first year.
He told London Assembly members on Tuesday: “The Orbit has been a success in terms of visitor numbers and it will be transformed by the slide. It changes the offer very significantly. It is a great viewing platforms but it’s not unique in that respect. The slide will be unique.”
Cost of installing the slide
Assembly member Andrew Dismore suggested that the LLDC should “cut its losses” and tear down the Orbit while Navin Shah called it a “failure” and a “white elephant”.
Success will be a double-edged sword for the sculpture. When it starts to make a surplus, around 2020-21, repayments of the £10million loan for its construction will kick in. Mr Goldstone said that would be a “happy position when the venue achieves what we hope and expect”.
Chairman of the regeneration committee Gareth Bacon said: “Everyone wants the Olympic Park to succeed, and popular venues are a key part of that. We were assured by the LLDC that visitor numbers at the Orbit are heading in the right direction and that the addition of a new slide will help.
“But £3.5 million is a lot of money and we need to make sure it will deliver value for money in the long run.”