Garden Bridge plan abandoned after trust admits defeat

Blog Economy

The trust which had been co-ordinating efforts for London’s Garden Bridge has confirmed that it has finally pulled the plug on the project.

The future of the development had looked to be in increasing jeopardy and confirmation that it would not go ahead came this week, with trustees admitting that they could not proceed without assurances of financial support from the Mayor of London.

The £200million structure would have spanned the River Thames between Temple and South Bank and had originally been the brainchild of actress Joanna Lumley. The architect Thomas Heatherwick, whose previous designs have included the London 2012 Olympic cauldron and the new-look Routemaster buses, was commissioned to design the bridge.

Although backers had originally been able to galvanise support for the project, which they argued would become a major tourist attraction, concerns that costs were spiralling out of control led to increasing controversy.

The Mayor, Sadiq Khan, said there had been considerable anger about the amount of public money which had already been invested in the scheme.

There was also a report released by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee which suggested the business case for the bridge was very weak and that it should be scrapped.

In a statement this week, Mr Khan said: “I have been clear since before I became Mayor that no more London taxpayers’ money should be spent on this project, and when I took office I gave the Garden Bridge Trust time to try to address the multiple serious issues with it.”

Mervyn Davies, the chair of the trust, said it was with “great regret” that the decision had been taken to cancel the scheme.

“We had made great progress obtaining planning permission, satisfying most of our planning conditions and we had raised £70million of private money towards the project,” he said, suggesting that the withdrawal of support from City Hall had effectively killed off the proposal.