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Lambeth condemns South Bank to be London’s toilet

Lambeth Council have agreed to the most visited tourist attraction in the UK having fewer toilets than the Clapham Picturehouse.

The Garden Bridge is expected to draw 7 million visitors a year if constructed, with long queues to get on the £175m structure at busy times. On Tuesday night (8/3/16) Lambeth’s Planning Committee approved a toilet block with just 8 toilets – giving those who are likely to need pay a visit less than 10 seconds on average in a cubicle.

The decision flew in the face of advice from the British Toilet Association that a minimum of around 30 toilets were needed to accommodate 5,000 visitors an hour at busy times. But councillors rejected the advice and the British Standards, as well as objections from Kate Hoey MP, local councillors and hundreds of local residents.

The Garden Bridge Trust stated that 8 cubicles could deal with up to 9,500 visitors, although the British Toilet Association stated in a letter:

“It is our official opinion that this structure and the considerable number of potential visitors will require a substantial toilet provision. We have considered your estimates amounting to around 7million visitors per year and concluded that our estimate is 12 - 15 toilets on the bridge with an additional block at either entrance. No provision has been attempted on or within the structure: this could lead to misappropriate behaviour that could ultimately become very embarrassing.

“The dwell time on the bridge may be gravely underestimated and many visitors may spend lunchtime or periods greater than an hour on the structure. This can only increase the frequency of use. We would totally concur with your fear and concerns regarding street urination and any additional fall in the levels of public decency and privacy.”

In taking their decision Planning Committee Vice-Chair Cllr Diana Morris stated that if more toilets were put in it would turn the building under the Garden Bridge into a toilet. Local resident Wai-King Cheung said:

“residents in Waterloo already suffered badly from public urination, in the streets, in our gardens, even at our front doors. This decision condemns the whole of Waterloo into a public toilet. The Garden Bridge will get the same number of visitors as the Eiffel Tower, but with the toilet provision of the Clapham Picturehouse .”

The Planning Committee also approved a piling and noise Construction Strategy, despite objections from ITV, the nearest building to the proposed Garden Bridge. Double glazing and other mitigation measures had been proposed, as well as noise monitoring devices attached to the building. No mitigation was proposed for the hundreds of residents living only 100m from the site, although councillors insisted that the noise monitoring reports be made public. Nicholas Timms a co-operative housing resident who lives in the Oxo Tower stated:

“Under this agreement we get no protection from heavy drilling work, with construction sometimes scheduled for over 24 hours at a time – but we will be able to read a print out from the monitors telling us about the noise we will have already suffered. Why do Lambeth Council enjoy inflicting this double torture on residents. No residents in the Oxo Tower have been consulted even once about a whole string of applications for the Garden Bridge”.

The Planning Committee also approved a Counter Terrorism Strategy which they weren’t allowed to see, with most of the document blanked out (redacted) for security reasons.

Kate Hoey asked that the items be deferred because of the poor consultation, and to take advice on the toilets and objections from ITV and the Port of London Authority, and to allow the Chief Executive of the Council to investigate allegations of malpractice made by some councillors about the way in which the Garden Bridge was approved by Lambeth.

Michael Ball, chair of Thames Central Open Spaces, a group formed in 2014 to stop the Garden Bridge, stated:

“We are considering bringing a legal action against Lambeth Council for this decision and the way in which the Council has generally behaved inappropriately over the Garden Bridge, with numerous secret meeting and private lobbying, reports stuffed full of misinformation, and heavy leaning on key people. This is not the way to take a decision which will wreck the lives of hundreds of residents on the South Bank and will condemn the area to become a dangerous, over-crowded and urine soaked mosh pit”.

Lambeth imposed a total of 46 conditions when granting planning permission for the Garden Bridge, which are scheduled for further hearings of the Planning Committee throughout the spring. The Garden Bridge Trust hope to begin construction in the summer.


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.




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.



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