Victory! But our work is not quite done...

16 Aug 2017

 

Rejoice! Finally the Garden Bridge cronies have thrown in the towel.

 

Londoners are no longer threatened with having their pockets picked for ever and a day to fund the exorbitant running costs of this monstrous folly. The South Bank is no longer threatened with congestion and privatisation. The best views of St Paul’s won’t be lost. And 38 trees scheduled for destruction are saved.

 

But why has it taken so long? Why have Londoners lost £46m funding what was supposed to be a gift from the world’s kindly philanthropists? How could the Garden Bridge Trust have spent £46m with nothing to show for it? Can any money be recouped? Who is culpable?

 

These are questions which the friends of Boris Johnson’s pet project have spent months trying to avoid, pretending they could survive Sadiq Khan’s withdrawal of support in April, following the devastating independent report from Margaret Hodge. We don’t know what £46m has been spent on because the Garden Bridge Trust have not explained, despite virtually all of their funding coming from the public purse – a fact which means they are obliged to provide the same level of transparency required of all public bodies.

 

They have thrown in the towel in August in the hope of disappearing during the ‘silly season’ of news. But this scandal will not disappear. While we must rejoice at the Garden Bridge’s demise, we must also pursue these questions and demand a public inquiry to investigate the corrupt practices which forced thousands of Londoners to give up their time and money campaigning against this nonsense:

 

* What on earth have the GBT spent £46m on? All that we know is that Arup and Heatherwick pocketed over £8m between them, itself an outrageous fee. We demand a detailed breakdown, and the GBT is obliged to provide it.

 

* Why and on what did the GBT spend £9m over the past year, when the project was losing its philanthropic pledges and teetering on bankruptcy?

 

* Why were the GBT allowed to sign a construction contract in March 2016, despite not having the money to build nor the land to build upon nor an implementable planning permission?

The Trust’s cancellation of the project triggers a further £15m cancellation fee – which at the moment looks likely to fall on the public purse. Why did TfL sign this off?

 

* Why didn’t former Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy advise Boris that the project was unviable rather than greenlight the bypassing of legally required procurement processes, and fail to report the project and its commitments to the TfL Board for 9 months? And why did current Transport Commissioner Mike Brown aggressively defend the project during the GLA inquiry, and allow the concerns of his own internal audit to be suppressed?

 

* Have the GBT behaved recklessly? If so, are the multi-millionaire members of the Trust personally liable for at least some of the missing millions?

 

* Why did Lambeth Council and Coin Street Community Builders secretly encourage the project from January 2013, a full 18 months prior to it going public? And why did they enter into negotiations on leasing the land in 2015, when London-wide opposition to the project was increasingly evident, and the Trust were clearly very far from their fundraising targets and unlikely to proceed without yet more public money being pumped in?

 

*And what action should be taken for chief cheerleaders of the project who were in positions of public office and overlooked proper procedure i.e. George Osborne, Boris Johnson, Isabel Dedring, Richard De Cani, Edward Lister?

 

It’s been an incredible campaign, supported by hundreds of activists in Waterloo and many thousands of Londoners. Our campaign should encourage anybody facing the hubris of inappropriate development being dumped on them: it doesn’t matter if the project is being hustled through by the most powerful and privileged, a mass movement of opposition can stop such projects in their tracks.

 

But it’s not enough to stop the Garden Bridge. To ensure nobody goes through the sort of hell Waterloo residents have been through it is vital that we pursue the answers to the questions above, and that elected politicians and public officials are held to account, if not held personally liable for the loss of £46m in these years of purported austerity. Only if they are held to account will they think twice about trying to foist such follies on Londoners at their expense.

 

Michael Ball - Chairman TCOS

 

Please reload

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.

RECENT POSTS
Please reload

VIEW POSTS BY MONTH
Please reload

PRESS ARTICLES

CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW

 

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.