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Boris Johnson rejects call to reinstate weekend City Hall open days

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has refused to reconsider his decision to scrap the 10 annual open weekends at City Hall.

City Hall spiral ramp
Boris Johnson has previously complained that the spiral ramp is almost entirely unused

We reported earlier this year that Boris Johnson had abolished the regular weekend open days at City Hall and cut down the weekday opening hours of the building.

In a written question to the Mayor, Labour London Assembly member Joanne McCartney said: "Following the success of the September Open House London weekend (Saturday: 3,017 visitors, Sunday: 3,222 visitors), I wonder if you could now reconsider your decision earlier in the year to scrap the regular 10 weekends per year for Londoners and other visitors interested to see 'their' City Hall.

"As you will agree looking at the numbers above, there is considerable interest for City Hall to open its doors if dates are adequately publicised."

The Mayor replied: "Although the figure of 6,239 visitors that attended the City Hall Open House this year is substantial, it is actually less than the number of visitors we received in most of the previous year's Open House weekends. The figures indicate that the actual numbers of visitors wishing to view City Hall are diminishing and opening for a further ten weekends per year would not attract any more significant numbers.

"For information, the cost of opening City Hall for an additional ten weekends is 44,000 per year and the average number of visitors over these weekends was around 850 people. This means that it costs the taxpayer around 4.50 for every visitor coming into the building at weekends.

"City Hall is open to the public from Monday to Friday with many tourists and Londoners visiting on a daily basis."

The cancellation of the weekend open days means that Open House London weekend in September is now the only regularly scheduled opportunity for members of the public to visit the balcony at the top of City Hall and explore the spiral ramp above the London Assembly chamber.

City Hall is currently hosting a London 2012 exhibition featuring models of the key Olympic venues.

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