CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Garden Bridge put out to grass

Boris Johnson's flagship project axed by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

05 May, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

How the Garden Bridge could have looked 

THE controversial Garden Bridge has effectively been scrapped after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan withdrew his support for the project.

In a letter to Lord Mervyn Davies, chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, Mr Khan said the costly project was a “financial risk”.

The decision not to provide mayoral guarantees was swayed by a damning report by Dame Margaret Hodge that has already cost the public purse £37.4million and cancellation costs could bring this total up to £46.4million.

The Thames Central Open Spaces campaign group, who have long opposed the project, called for an investigation into the actions which led up to public money being “wasted” on the bridge plans, to date.

Wai-King, from the TCOS, said: “The mayor is a brave man, saving London from this ridiculous folly. The Micky Mouse finances have finally caught up with it. But why has £47million of taxpayers’ cash been wasted on this nonsense? This could have built two Millennium Bridges by now.” The Garden Bridge Trust’s accounts earlier this year said they could not confirm that the bridge was a “going concern”.

Lord Davies said: “We received the mayor’s letter with great regret. We will study the contents of the letter in detail before responding formally. The Garden Bridge Trust was set up at the request of Transport for London and the Department for Trans- port to deliver the project which had received public money.

“We have had enormous support from our funders and are very confident we can raise the remaining funds required. But sadly the Mayor of London has taken a different decision to those in place when the project started.”

In a statement, Mr Khan said: “Under the previous mayor, a considerable amount of London taxpayers’ money has already been spent on the Garden Bridge. I have always been clear that not a penny more of taxpayers’ money should be allocated to the project.”

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