Garden Bridge creates troubled waters

12 Nov 2014

 

Proposals for a ‘Garden Bridge’ were one vote away from defeat last night, when Lambeth councillors split 4 votes to 3 on a motion to refuse planning permission.

With interventions from celebrity backers Joanna Lumley and Thomas Heatherwick, the planning application was eventually approved, but with a long list of 46 conditions which must come back to Lambeth’s planning committee for a final decision in 2015.

Moves from councillors to refuse the application came after TCOS objectors raised a series of issues including

  • Congestion and crowd management problems, with 7 million visitors annually creating “very uncomfortable” conditions for pedestrians according to Transport for London’s analysis

  • Loss of historic protected views of St Paul’s from the South Bank and Waterloo Bridge

  • Lack of adequate facilities including toilets

  • Commercialisation and clutter on the South Bank

The Bridge is expected to draw bigger crowds than any tourist attraction in the UK and will rival Paris Disneyland, which receives 9 million visitors annually. But objectors revealed that no crowd safety and control analysis had been undertaken, and the police had not been consulted. One objector warned that at nearby pinch points at the Oxo tower there was the danger of people becoming trapped or crushed.

The Temple, home to the UK’s top barristers, lodged a last minute objection stating that any decision to approve the scheme at this stage by Lambeth council would be illegal, and reserved their position to initiate legal proceedings.

 

The Garden Bridge Trust set up by Lumley and Heatherwick, claimed that the bridge would be financed privately, but Boris Johnson and George Osborne have pledged £60m of public cash, and a further £30m subsidy through VAT relief is possible. The current building cost is £175m and TfL have already spent £4m bringing the about the project.

 

A £3m donation from the Trust’s bankers, Citigroup, will not even cover a year’s management and maintenance costs of £3.5m. If the cash cannot be found Lambeth Council could end sharing the bills with the London Mayor.

Committee members chose to ignore these warnings and approve the scheme subject to a range of conditions. But they left themselves in a weak negotiating position. In contrast Westminster Council have refused to approve the application until all outstanding issues are resolved.

 

TCOS spokesperson Wai-King Cheung said “With 22 visitor attractions and the largest arts centre in Europe, the South Bank does not need another attraction, let alone the largest in the UK. Visitors will be jostled and crushed in an area already heaving with tourists. The thousands of local residents, many in social housing, will have their lives blighted. One of Europe’s great promenades and riverscapes will be lost forever – for a luvvies folly which provides less than half a football pitch of green open space. We look forward to a legal challenge being mounted against Lambeth’s half-baked decision”.

 

For more information contact: thamescentralopenspace@gmail.com

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12/6/19 Garden Bridge failure should be likened to Kids Company scandal, MPs told

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14/8/17 London's Garden Bridge project scrapped

6/7/17 Soothing the Garden Bridge’s troubled waters

22/6/17 Standards commissioner examines complaint against Garden Bridge review

11/5/17 Good riddance to the Garden Bridge: an eye-watering waste of public funds by Walter Menteth

29/4/17 Lumley fights on for her fabulous bridge

 

28/4/17 The garden bridge is dead – now £37m of public money must be repaid

 

28/4/17 Garden Bridge: London mayor Sadiq Khan withdraws support

 

16/4/17 Garden bridge project is a landmark of the post-truth era

15/4/17 A garden bridge to nowhere

7/4/17 Garden Bridge should be scrapped, Hodge review finds

 

27/3/17 Garden Bridge could cost £22 million more than forecast

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28/2/17 Garden Bridge Trust cleared of financial irregularities

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27/12/16 Garden bridge charity warns more delays could terminate project

16/12/16 MPs investigating Garden Bridge question need for scheme

14/12/16 Letter from PAC chair Meg Hillier to  Treasury Permanent Secretary

9/11/16 TCOS response to the GBT's misleading autumn newsletter

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11/10/16 Mayor must refuse to sign the Garden Bridge maintenance guarantee: statement on NAO report

11/10/16 David Cameron 'ignored civil servants over Garden Bridge funding'

11/10/16 Department for Transport ignored official advice not to risk public money on Garden Bridge

22/9/16 London’s garden bridge would benefit only the rich

22/9/16 Dame Margaret Hodge MP to conduct review into Garden Bridge project

7/9/16 Garden Bridge Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons led by Kate Hoey MP

17/8/16 £22m gap in Garden Bridge funds - Newsnight investigation

 

5/8/16 Thames garden bridge delays raise risk of major boat collision – expert

29/7/16 Garden bridge charity delays publishing annual accounts for five months

 

25/7/16 Garden Bridge: Tough questions for £175m Thames project

24/7/16 HS2 and the garden bridge are vanity projects – it's not too late to scrap both

21/7/16 Garden bridge may need taxpayer bailout once built, report says

11/7/16 Sadiq Halts Work On Garden Bridge

30/6/16 National Audit Office investigates London garden bridge grant

 

19/5/16 London's garden bridge: visitors urged to donate on Thames crossing

21/4/16 Boris Johnson accused of misleading politicians over garden bridge

 

17/4/16 Why did Sadiq Khan change his mind over the Garden Bridge? He's fallen for the sunk costs fallacy

14/4/16 Council consultation row over Garden Bridge

 

5/4/16 Lambeth’s Garden Bridge decision to face scrutiny

 

1/4/16 Joanna Lumley proposes Thames ‘Allotment Ferry’

 

1/4/16 Giant Boris Gnome planned for Garden Bridge

 

24/3/16 Architects and critics in last-minute plea to stop Garden Bridge

 

21/3/16 The Garden Bridge project reeks of cronyism and improper process. And here are the other 25 problems with it

 

18/3/16 London's Boris Johnson 'chided' over Garden Bridge design contract

 

9/3/16 Toilets and terrorism: Lambeth approves Garden Bridge plans 

 

7/3/16:  Garden Bridge: London council allegedly threatened over Thames project - by Peter Walker

 

7/3/16 Taking the piss out on the Garden Bridge - by George Turner

 

6/3/16 Thames garden bridge faces last-ditch challenge from local politicians - by Peter Walker
 

3/3/16 Lambeth could take Garden Bridge decision behiind closed doors - by James Hatts

 

1/3/16 Caroline Pidgeon pledges total opposition to the Garden Bridge - by Caroline Pidgeon

 

February 2016 ‘Thames Garden Bridge Procurement issues’ Walter Menteth, Project Compass CIC.

24/2/16 "On Bullshit" & the Garden Bridge - by Dan Anderson

 

14/2/16 Garden bridge: a project promoted and sold with half‑truths, deceptions and evasions - by Rowan Moore.

 

14/2/16 You've had your fun - let's put the Garden Bridge to bed now - by Rachel Holdsworth

 

13/2/16 Why is London's Garden Bridge worth as much as five Lancashire museums? Ask Joanna Lumley - by Ian Jack

 

12/2/16 London's Garden Bridge is exposing the messy business of architecture competitions - by Diana Budds

 

10/2/16 London Green party call halt to privatisation of public space in London - by Sian Berry

 

10/2/16 Is it still possible to stop the Garden Bridge? - by Will Wiles.

 

9/2/16 Garden Bridge procurement statement from RIBA - Jane Duncan

 

31/1/16 Muddy Waters - Jobs for the boys - by Walter Menteth

29/1/16 The Garden Bridge subverts the lessons of history - by Dan Anderson

 

20/1/16 Boris Johnson evades Tom Copley AM's questions about the Garden Bridge

 

20/1/16 Londoners' money put at risk by the Garden Bridge  - by Will  Hurst

 

17/1/16 George Osborne under attack overGarden Bridge cash pledge - by Mark Townsend

 

21/11/15 Why we must stop Thomas Heatherwick's Garden Bridge - by Jack Wakefield

 

17 Sept 2015. GLA Oversight Committee Agenda Item 8, p71-72. Walter Menteth Report submission to the GLA Oversight Committee to inform their examination into the procurement of the design and technical services for the Thames Garden Bridge. Document review, analysis, report & response to GLA questions by Walter Menteth of Project Compass CIC as expert witness on behalf of industry. 34p.