A game of brinkmanship on the brink of collapse?

11 Jan 2017

 (Picture from Architect's Journal)

 

The Garden Bridge Trust accounts are finally published. There are significant concerns and a desperately needed call for the project to be stopped. Here's why:

 

1.      GOING CONCERN

 

Does the Trust still have some petrol in the tank, as a result of standing down their contractors in July (it’s what remains of the £7 million that was triggered by the signing of the construction contract)?  Is this how they think they can soldier on despite uncertainty about whether or not they are a going concern i.e. they can still just about meet their financial liabilities until @March 2017? But unless the money fairy arrives we think they will have to declare bankruptcy. 

 

But they aren't doing that and are clearly playing brinksmanship with the government/London mayor Sadiq Khan- nobody has been willing to pull the plug on what is obviously a failing vanity project, and so they are forcing the government to either give them yet more public money or do what nobody has dared to do and close it down.

 

2.      CAPITAL COSTS

 

They are out there trying to raise money for a project that is not only riddled with uncertainty but which – by their own admission – does not even have a cost ceiling.  What kind of a maniac would donate any money under those circumstances?

 

3.      THE “PIPELINE OF DONATIONS” ARGUMENT IS WEARING THIN

 

Despite all the usual talk about a “strong pipeline” of potential donors, they appear to have stalled at £129 million.  To put this into perspective, when GBT trustee and former government Chief Construction Officer Paul Morrell wrote to Transport for London to inform them that they were going to sign the construction contract, he claimed that they’d raised £145 million and had a “strong pipeline” for raising the balance.  It appears that that pipeline was so strong that they managed to lose £16 million.  Then Lord Davies went on Newsnight in August 2016 and talked about the “strong pipeline” of donors and it appears that they haven’t raised a bean since then.

 

So this argument is starting to wear thin and it is about time that we start challenging the credibility of this claim.

 

4.      RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MAYOR’S OFFICE

 

Most of the blame for this debacle must invariably fall at Boris Johnson’s feet, but Sadiq Khan is not exactly covering himself in glory.  There appears to be a letter from The Mayor providing assurances that the Mayoral Guarantee will be honoured subject to some future review of the Operations and Maintenance Business Plan.  Why they are leaving this review until the end of the process is mystifying.  What kind of an organisation reviews a business plan AFTER they have let you spend £40 million!?  It’s like a bank giving you the money to put a huge deposit on a house and THEN determining that you don’t qualify for the mortgage.  It’s insane.

 

5.      THE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT

 

A large part of the reason that the Trust is in this financial mess is the fact that it prematurely signed a construction contract back in February 2016.  That was the single most baffling decision of this whole saga and it was made with Transport for London’s approval.  These accounts reveal that they are no closer today than they were a year ago to meeting the conditions laid out in their funding agreement.  So Transport for London needs to explain why they released the funding when they did.

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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.