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London’s Garden Bridge project closed

Words: Laura Edgar

The Garden Bridge Trust has announced that it is ‘winding up’ the proposed £200 million Garden Bridge project.

The charity, which was established to build and run the bridge, has contacted Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Transport for London (TfL), and the Department for Transport (DfT) to inform them of its decision.

In April this year, The Planner reported that Khan would not provide financial guarantees for building the bridge and the annual maintenance costs, a condition of planning consent which expires in December 2017.

The bridge was backed by previous mayor Boris Johnson and former chancellor George Osborne, who committed £60 million of public funding to the project, with the balance to be raised from private and corporate donations.

Khan had commissioned Labour MP and former public accounts committee chair Margaret Hodge to review whether the scheme was value for money. She recommended scrapping it to stop wasting any more public money.

The Garden Bridge Trust said it has been examining all options available to it since April, including discussions with a potential benefactor and further talks with the government.

The benefactor and the trustees have concluded that they cannot proceed with the bridge without the support of the Mayor of London. Lord Davies, chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, has written to the mayor outlining why this decision has been made.

Lord Davies said: “It is with great regret that the trustees have concluded that without mayoral support the project cannot be delivered. We are incredibly sad that we have not been able to make the dream of the Garden Bridge a reality and that the mayor does not feel able to continue with the support he initially gave us. We had made great progress obtaining planning permission, satisfying most of our planning conditions and we had raised £70 million of private money towards the project.”

The pulling of the project, Davies continued, is a “sad day” for London, because its sends out a “message to the world that we can no longer deliver such exciting projects”.

The project will now be formally closed and contracts terminated. The trust itself will then be wound up in accordance with the Companies Acts.

Read more:

Khan pulls plug on Garden Bridge

Khan orders inquiry into Garden Bridge

London Garden Bridge tenders to be reviewed

Image credit | Arup