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22/09/2016

Khan orders inquiry into Garden Bridge

Words: Huw Morris
garden bridge

The future of the Garden Bridge across the Thames is in doubt after London mayor Sadiq Khan ordered an inquiry into the controversial proposal.

Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP who chaired the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee, will lead a review into the £185 million bridge from Temple to the South Bank. The inquiry will focus on whether £60 million of public funding pledged to the scheme is value for money.

The Department for Transport has given half this sum. Transport for London (TfL) has offered the same amount, although two-thirds of this through a long-term loan.

Hodge will also consider how the Greater London Authority, TfL and other bodies handled the proposal.

Khan said no new taxpayers money should be committed to the scheme.
“I’m clear that since the beginning of the project there hasn’t been the necessary standard of transparency and openness around the Garden Bridge.

“Nearly £40 million of public money has already been spent on the Garden Bridge project, and Londoners deserve far more information about the decisions that have been made around how their money is being spent."

The Garden Bridge has been plagued by controversy over a lack of transparency in the procurement process, delays to the time scale and problems raising private finance.

Hodge said: “It’s not a project that I have previously had an opinion on either for or against. But given the millions of pounds of public money allocated to the project, it is clear that there needs to be far more transparency around how funds are being spent.

“The planned bridge is a major project in an iconic part of London, and there are clearly questions that remain unanswered around issues like procurement."

Image credit | Arup

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