Thames Central Open Spaces was created in 2014 by a group
of stakeholders with the shared goal of protecting our open
space along the River Thames and the South Bank in London.
The idea of the Garden Bridge was presented to us as a fait
accompli in June 2014 by the Garden Bridge Trust at a local
meeting in Waterloo without any prior consultation, yet the
team behind the project and one of the trustees of the 'charity'
formed in 2013 specially to manage the project - had been in
talks with Lambeth and Westminster Councils and Transport
for London for at least 18 months before.
A small group of local residents, conducted our own
consultation to see just how popular this idea was; an
online petition was created and it was clear that those
who were properly informed of the facts, had serious misgivings about the project. With the help of social media, national newspapers and broadcasting companies, TCOS has connnected with several thousands of people not just in the UK but around the world. It is no longer seen as just a local issue and we have active campaigners from all over London and beyond.
The origins of the Garden Bridge stem from as far back as 1998 when Joanna Lumley had an idea of creating a memorial to Princess Diana across the Thames. She had approached Thomas Heatherwick, Iain Tuckett of CSCB and engineers Arup, years before Boris Johnson had became mayor of London for a second term in May 2012. Former mayor Ken Livingstone had rejected her idea but family friend Boris, whom she has known since he was four - was prepared to fast-track this proposal during his time in public office.
After the idea was presented to the Waterloo community, we realised that the impact on our lives and the surrounding areas would be devastating for example, serious overcrowding already experienced on the Queen's Walk would become dangerous with millions of extra visitors to the area. There would be unnecessary pollution in the river from thousands of tons of concrete and also in the atmosphere from additional tourist vehicles and heavy construction work. Anti-social behaviour would be increased and local authorities would have to find a way of coping with the extra footfall on their tightly squeezed budgets.
And the large grassy area on the Queen's Walk outside ITV would be given over to a large commercial building that leaseholders Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) would own. Potential rent of up to £1 million from the 'south landing building' would be their compensation for loss of earnings from pop-up style events that are held on the grass all year round. However CSCB have conveniently forgotten that it is strictly prohibited for them to use that space for commercial gain.
Despite many requests for talks with CSCB and Lambeth council's cabinet members, they have denied the local community any meetings or meaningful discussion.
In March 2015, Lambeth resident Michael Ball challenged the case in the High Court; as a result of his judicial review, the GBT have to find a guarantee that covers their ongoing maintenance costs in perpetuity. This forced Boris Johnson to instruct a public guarantee - and so we believe that we can challenge this in the High Court as it commits the public to further costs after the mayor promised that this would not be the case. Without such a guarantee, the Garden Bridge cannot be built.
For more information about the judicial review, click here http://wkc1000.wix.com/tcos#!news/c1i69/Date/2015-06