What to do next?
Here’s how you can help. We need to be asking these questions:
1. What on earth has £26.7m been spent on? This is the amount of public money the Garden Bridge Trust (GBT) has been given since 2015, after Transport for London (TfL) had already spent £10.7m on the design team Heatherwick and Arup to work up the scheme to planning permission. There is little to show for the £26.7m, apart from PR. How much of it remains unspent? TfL has itemised their costs, but the GBT have not.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) must demand this, because the Funding Agreement includes a repayment requirement - and since the Mayor is cancelling support for the project, the GBT need to return any unspent money and/or account for what and how whatever's been spent.
Write to the Mayor of London (firstname.lastname@example.org) demanding a full breakdown of how this £26.7m has been spent and if any is recoverable. Copy in GLA members Tom Copley (Labour), Caroline Pidgeon (LibDem), Andrew Boff (Conservative), Caroline Russell (Green), Peter Whittle (UKIP) who have all expressed concern about the money thrown at this vanity project. (Use this format for contacting GLA members: email@example.com)
2. Who is paying for the cost of cancellation?
The GBT prematurely entered into a construction contract in 2016, because this triggered the £26.7m of public money going to them. But the contract included a £15m cancellation fee. How will this be covered? The Department for Transport (DfT) agreed to underwrite this to the tune of £9m - is this being called upon by the GBT? Or are they planning to bend some of the unspent £26.7m, which is not appropriate within the terms of the funding?
And how is the GBT to cover the £6m shortfall? The DfT demanded that the private donors fund this part at least. Is the DfT satisfied that its money is not going to cover this £6m shortfall?
Please write to the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling and Permanent Secretary Bernadette Kelly to ask for answers and to call for a public inquiry
Department for Transport link: