By Tom Banks
The Thomas Heatherwick-designed Garden Bridge has been scrapped after the Garden Bridge Trust declared that, without the backing of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, there was no point continuing.
The Garden Bridge, designed by Heatherwick was a proposal for a bridge featuring trees and shrubbery, spanning the Thames, situated between the existing Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges.
Lord David Abersoch, chairman of The Garden Bridge, made his intentions clear in a letter to Khan, which stated: “It is now plain we cannot expect the level of support we need from you to deliver this landmark project.”
“Winding up the project”
In the letter, dated 14 August, Abersoch said: “Sadly, we have now reached the point where the trustees have no choice but to wind up both the project and the Trust, and we have consequently resolved to do so.”
Abersoch went on to say that there was a lack of communication from the Mayor’s Office and questioned the legitimacy of pulling public support based on the report produced by Dame Margaret Hodge, rather than other feasibility investigations conducted by the Mayor’s Office.
Meanwhile Khan has responded by reiterating the validity of the Hodge review, which highlighted a funding gap and “potentially unlimited costs to London taxpayers to fund the bridge in the future.”
Taxpayers “very angry”
He also said that taxpayers should be “very angry” that “tens of millions of pounds” of public money had been lost and was adamant that “I could not permit a single penny more of London taxpayers’ money being spent on it”.
While the project has proved divisive from the outset, Abersoch said that “two potential guarantors approached the Trust to rescue the project.”
However, the Garden Bridge project has been in doubt since April, when Khan raised major concerns.