A few facts which contradict the proposal that construction of the Garden Bridge could begin anytime soon

4 Feb 2016

 

The £100m construction contract with Bouygues was programmed to have been signed last September, but it remains unsigned because sufficient impediments remain to the delivery of the project, and the funding agreement from TfL precludes signing the construction contract until a number of key things have been achieved, including having secured all of the necessary capital funding. In October the Garden Bridge Trust told Lambeth that the contract needed to be signed off ‘within a few weeks’ or else they would have to re-run the tendering process. Two months later they have neither signed nor re-run the competition for the contract.

 

The Garden Bridge Trust have yet to even agree a first draft Heads of Terms for a variation of the lease from Lambeth Council (freeholder) and a sub-lease of the land for the bridge and Coin Street Community Builders (leaseholders). This agreement was also scheduled for sign off last September. If and when they do, the matter will then be held up for a further 6 months, since the site was recently designated as an Asset of Community Value which requires Lambeth to give a community interest group up to 6 months to come with an alternative offer for the site.

 

46 planning conditions were imposed by Lambeth, including one requiring agreement with ITV and IBM (adjacent landowners) on the use of their sites for construction access, and the mitigation of vibration from construction and noise from occupation of the Garden Bridge (there is some doubt as to whether ITV would even be able to use their studios during the 18 month construction period if the development goes ahead). Again, this was scheduled to be resolved by Oct 2015. (Incidentally, only 13 of the conditions have been discharged so far).

 

There is an as yet unfulfilled requirement by Westminster Council and Lambeth Council for the £3.5m annual operational costs to be guaranteed by an appropriate party, in case the Garden Bridge Trust are unable to raise these funds from galas, corporate events and t-shirt sales - which is the intention in their business plan. Last June, Boris Johnson agreed to provide such a guarantee by instructing the GLA and TfL to agree a mechanism to underwrite the operational costs, and the outcome of Michael Ball’s judicial review, was that they must reveal the contents of any guarantee to him (Michael), which has not happened. Lambeth have today confirmed that they still have not received the Operations and Maintenance Business Plan, which would include this 'guarantee’ issue, and would not expect it to be approved by councillors until July. This is a pre-commencement condition, so no construction can begin without it.

 

Although £20m of public funding has already been given to the Garden Bridge Trust (and around £9m spent on the design to July 15) the bulk of the money will not be released until all of the issues above are resolved. Given the timescales, it is almost certain that this money will not be released before Boris ceases to be mayor, and there must therefore be considerable uncertainty as to whether it will be granted with the new Mayor (one of the mayoral candidates has put down a motion at the GLA in the last few days demanding all public funding be withdrawn, and clearly the rows over procurement will make this more likely, particularly if Sadiq is elected).

 

The amount of private funding amassed is very opaque and looks increasingly unlikely to be as significant as claimed. The Trust claimed in summer 2014 that they have £65m of pledges and today, they claim £85m; so they have made little progress during the 18 months in which they should have got maximum publicity and raised the outstanding amount. We have big doubts about their claims: Glencore is one of their biggest donors and they are close to bankruptcy. With recent negative publicity, the GBT have been desperate to announce new money, but the best they could manage was a mere £5m pledge from Sky a couple of weeks back - and it quickly became clear this had been previously included in the total (which still remains at £85m). In short, their fundraising has not proved fruitful - but without evidence of all of the funding being in place, the remaining £40m of public funding will not be released, according to the terms of the funding agreement with TfL.

 

In conclusion it’s pretty obvious they are not going to be in any position to get on site and begin construction in the summer. They were initially intending to get on site last September; if they fail to get on by the summer they are almost certain to run into logistical problems with the construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. They always argued that this would force a 5 year delay, which would kill the project. But most engineering and logistic problems are resolvable, including this one, but the issue will then be considerable additional costs.

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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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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.