It seems our trust in Sadiq Khan and Lambeth council leader Lib Peck has been seriously misplaced as they have struck a deal with the Garden Bridge Trust (GBT) behind Thomas Heatherwick’s closed doors. They have agreed to a ‘loan’ of up to £20m from TfL instead of granting the full £30m originally promised to the GBT. Don’t be fooled: the public is still footing a bill of £10m as well as £30m from the Department of Transport in addition to the £20m ‘loan’. Confused? Read on…
…this is a hollow victory for Lambeth council and the Labour mayoral candidate as this deal has simply reopened the floodgates for the GBT, which puts the public firmly back in the unfortunate position of not only part-paying for a private development but also guaranteeing the exorbitant £3.5m annual maintenance costs which amounts to an endowment of approximately £150m. If Cllr Peck and Sadiq Khan had stood firm and rejected the use of any public funding for the project altogether, then this financial burden would have been avoided and we would not be facing a lifetime of debt for an unnecessary tourist attraction which would have no public right of way.
The GBT have already spent £20m of public funds from TfL; there is no time limit or legal mechanism to claw back the money if the GBT fails to pay back this loan. The business case for the GBT is completely inadequate as there is no income stream that would cover the maintenance costs let alone the construction. The GBT themselves have no assets to pay for the bridge in the event of failure.
TfL is currently under investigation for the project’s controversial procurement process and the mayor is allegedly under scrutiny for “malfeasance in public office”. The GBT have yet to secure £50m and one of their biggest backers is facing financial ruin. The question of the land needed on the South Bank is still a giant hurdle for the GBT to overcome and there are still several planning conditions for them to discharge before construction can begin. There is still ample time for the tide to turn - yet again.
Keep sharing the petition; there’s still a long way to go in order to stop this nonsense. And please support our legal case here: www.everyclick.com/tcos
CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE GARDEN BRIDGE
We are dedicated to saving public space on the South Bank and over the River Thames. The controversial Garden Bridge is not needed here, it would destroy protected views and is democratically and environmentally damaging. Help us stop this now.
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.