Our deputation to Lambeth Council; this is what we said:

19 Nov 2015

 

After handing in a petition with over 13,000 signatures - and still counting - on Wed 18th November 2015 7pm at Elmwood School, Tulse Hill, London:

 

“We’re here again bringing our deputation to you, because no one is coming to us. Since 2013 senior members and officers have met and received presentations from people promoting the Garden Bridge, but not once in nearly 3 years has anyone from Lambeth come and listened or explained why the executive of this council has surreptitiously supported this vanity project, or held themselves accountable for that decision. There has been an abdication of responsibility.

 

Last week some of us finally met with the Leader of the council. We got 35 minutes to just begin to try and deal with problems which this council will paying for, for many decades. There are two significant things Cllr Peck has said in recent weeks which we completely agree with: the bridge is in the wrong place and is not really a transport project at all; and that public money shouldn’t be going into this.

 

Firstly this issue of “it isn’t in the right place” – the job of the Leader of the Council is to say just that, to tell the group of powerful and influential supporters of the bridge that Lambeth isn’t willing to support this proposal at this site. Nobody else can do that. Cllr Peck has shown in recent weeks how she can negotiate with the Mayor of London over this bridge, so why doesn’t she just say the obvious: “it isn’t in the right place so we won’t support this”?

 

By failing to stand up to the Mayor and the bridge’s backers, Lambeth has effectively encouraged it to proceed. Lambeth has therefore itself contributed to this mess, and the spending of many millions of pounds of public money already. This has been another scandalous abdication of responsibility.

 

Cllr Peck said public money shouldn’t be spent on this, and in September she finally and courageously said no, and halted negotiations on the land disposal. That was just one card Lambeth held, but it was enough to stop the whole project. Except last week Cllr Peck changed her mind again and recommenced negotiations for the sale of the green, public open space on the riverside which is needed for the bridge to proceed. Cllr Peck boldly announced that she had saved the public purse £20m of the £60m, which would now not be a grant but a ‘loan’. This is complete deception in so many ways:

 

The ‘loan’ is to an organisation with no assets or income stream to use as collateral, for 50 years. At 2%, the GBT would have to pay back £400K per year. They already expect £3.5m annual running costs, which they hope to meet by selling t-shirts and holding galas. This is not credible and Boris has stepped in and landed the state – TfL – with this bill, which will cost over many millions in the next few decades.

 

So TfL is ‘loaning’ the Garden Bridge Trust £20m; and if the GBT can’t pay, then TfL will step in a pay…itself. That is not a loan: that is a gift. It is a loan, insists Cllr Peck, it’s like a mortgage. But if you default on a mortgage the bank gets your house; if the Trust defaults on their loan, the state gets the bridge and all its associated costs. How does it save Londoners anything if we pick up the tab on a defaulted loan?

 

Just last week the Trust unveiled their latest wheeze, threatening to start construction before they have the private money even pledged. If you believe their figures, they are still £30m short. One £10m donor, Glencore, is close to bankruptcy and unlikely to be able to pay. So what happens when they’ve half built the bridge and run out of money? This has happened to the Tate Modern extension, which has been delayed by 3 years. You can delay the opening of an art gallery by 3 years – but you can’t leave a bridge half built across the Thames (The Garden Pier?). It’s obvious what will happen – the state will have to step in, yet again, using Londoners millions and Lambeth land.

 

And that’s how you can stop this. It is your land – our land, public open space created out of public funds for local residents in perpetuity, to compensate for the lack of open space in the area, free from buildings and commercialisation, held in TRUST by Lambeth Council.

 

You can stop this. You 63 Lambeth councillors have the power to pull the plug on this colossal vanity project, and really saving Londoners millions of pounds – not £20m, but upwards of £160m of public funds. You will not only save Londoners millions of pounds, you will save some of the most treasured and freely available views of London. You will save London from yet another open space that is privately owned and across which no-one has any right of way. You can do this by not disposing of the land to the Garden Bridge, but retaining it as green, free, truly public open space. Your executive group and your Leader will make a decision on this. Please ensure it is the one you will all be happy to be remembered by. This is a legacy issue – one of the most visually intrusive and high profile statements that this Council will ever make.”

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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.

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PRESS ARTICLES

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

17/3/19 Minister: it’s ‘unfortunate’ we spent £43m on Garden Bridge

13/2/19 Garden bridge charity spent £53.5m with no construction, TfL finds

12/12/18 Garden Bridge Trust claims £5m of public money for wind-up costs

31/7/18 Garden Bridge backers 'may have breached legal duties'

31/7/18 Garden Bridge trustees may have ‘breached their legal duties’ says QC

01/03/18 Boris Johnson defends garden bridge plan that will cost public £46m

01/03/18 Boris Johnson blames Garden Bridge project blunders on successor

28/02/18 Boris Johnson could face investigation over Thames garden bridge

14/8/17 London's Garden Bridge project officially abandoned

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

10/3/17 MP warns mayor over Garden Bridge’s cost to taxpayer

 

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

23/2/17 Top criminal QC raises ‘serious concerns’ over Garden Bridge contest

9/2/17 London garden bridge case weaker now than in 2014, says Treasury official

8/2/17 Garden Bridge: all-party pressure on Sadiq not to sign guarantee

15/1/17 Let’s not be led any further up the garden bridge

 

11/01/17 London garden bridge project's future is in doubt, say trustees

5/01/17 "If 2016 was the Year of Bullshit, then the Garden Bridge could be its monument”

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

16/10/16 Controversial garden bridge to cost public total of £50m – even if it fails to go ahead

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.