Calling Westminster residents: act now to stop the privatisation of open public space on the North Bank!

22 Dec 2016

 

On 21st December, Westminster Council published a notice to dispose of open public space around Temple tube station to the Garden Bridge Trust. This decision can be called in. We urge every Westminster constituent to contact their local councillors and make them aware of this con trick - here's why:

 

It would cost the public at least £500,000 after legal fees, indemnity costs and premiums paid to London Underground Limited, for the GBT to acquire this desperately needed crucial land from Westminster City Council (WCC) to build the bridge. The money to do this would be from the £60m public funding granted to the GBT by the Department of Transport and Transport for London.

 

So public money is being used to facilitate private developers the Garden Bridge Trust, to acquire public land which we would lose all rights to - where's the sense in that?
 

Questions also need to be asked about why Westminster council is allowing public money to be spent on a project that is not deliverable and is currently undergoing a review by Dame Margaret Hodge for London mayor Sadiq Khan and is also in question by the chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

 

The GBT are burning up to £500k a month and are going nowhere. They don't have implementable planning permissions: they don't have land rights; they are between £55m-£70m short of cash; they don't have a Port of London Authority licence or a public guarantee from Sadiq Khan (we shall challenge him in the High Court if he signs such a guarantee).

 

Therefore we urge every Westminster resident to contact their local councillor and ask them to call in the decision to dispose of public space at Temple tube station for this private development. If you know of any Westminster residents who might not see this, tell them and all their friends, families community groups, social circle and social media etc. to do the same - spread the word!  You only have until 3rd January 2017 to do this so ACT NOW.!

 

To call in the decision, it needs three members from either the Environment and Customer Services Policy and Scrutiny Committee http://committees.westminster.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=332 or three members from the Housing, Finance and Corporate Services Committee http://committees.westminster.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=326. This scenario presented by Westminster is not an accident...

 

Some points about this decision to make to your councillor (and to the councillors on the committees mentioned above):

 

  • The Garden Bridge project is undeliverable. It requires a public guarantee from the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who cannot issue such an underwriting on the grounds that it would be irrational to do so. The public funding was granted by the Treasury to the Garden Bridge Trust (GBT) on the basis that it would act as an incentive for private donors to come forward. However a public guarantee eliminates any need for private donations as all costs would eventually be met by the taxpayer, in the event of the GBT’s failure.

 

  • WCC is proposing to surrender this publicly owned asset without taking into account appropriate consideration of market value, (or its value as a public asset) on behalf of the people of Westminster.  WCC would be losing out on valuable open public space that is worth much more than the peppercorn rent that the GBT would pay to construct and run their bridge. The figures quoted in the decision report (@£500k) is a pittance given the millions the land is worth.

 

 

 

  • Given that many serious concerns and objections have been raised by establishments such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Middle Temple, The Westminster Society, the City of London, Metropolitan Public Gardens Association etc., claims that the “bridge will likely contribute to the social well-being of the area” and “contribute to the Council’s environmental well-being objectives” (CMR 3.1) are unfounded/unsubstantiated.

 

  • The air space/property/land in question around Temple tube station is owned by London Underground Limited (LUL), a TfL subsidiary. All rights to this publicly owned/controlled space would be lost if relinquished to the GBT. WCC are currently protected in some ways as TfL are answerable to the taxpayer, whereas the GBT are not.

 

  • Last year, a Westminster charity attempted to protect this piece of public land by registering it as an Asset of Community Value but WCC/TfL refused on the grounds that the vents on the roof are necessary for TfL/LUL railway operations (see this attached letter). And now suddenly it is available to support a tourist attraction? This is blatantly contradictory and an improper use of LUL property.

 

  • Developers must consult with local residents in regards to right to light but in the case of the residents of Arundel Great Court who would be affected by the Garden Bridge, their rights would be overlooked/overruled if WCC allow the Garden Bridge to built upon Temple station roof. This is a clear circumvention of the developers’ obligations to consult with the community, a devious loophole that WCC should not encourage.

 

This is such crucial piece of land and the decision must be carefully considered given the controversial nature of this project. We urge Westminster councillors from the two relevant committees to call the decision in so that more research can be done to come to the right decision for not only Westminster, but for London

 

(Please add you own comments about why you object to the bridge being constructed in Westminster - you can find some suggestions here http://www.tcos.org.uk/how-to-object)

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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.