Garden Bridge project in danger of collapsing

by DANIEL DAWSON

The Garden Bridge Trust is “thoroughly reviewing its options” after a £70m funding deficit has left its future in serious doubt.

“Interest in the project is strong, but all donors require an element of certainty, which the project has not had since September 2016,” said a Garden Bridge Trust spokeswoman.

“If the Trust is able to continue, a new construction timeline must be agreed.”

The financial white elephant, which would provide a green crossing over the Thames between Victoria Embankment and the Southbank Centre, has drawn the ire of several prominent Londoners. Mayor Sadiq Khan has refused to allocate additional public money for the project.

22833443_10211650232384786_1328733496_o
Photo by Garden Bridge Trust

Councillor Jennie Mosley of Lambeth called the bridge a “vanity project” and said it was an unnecessary use of taxpayer money.

“Taxpayers were not asked if we wanted this bridge,” she said.

“There was huge consensus from residents that they were opposed to it being built”

The cost of the bridge has ballooned from £60m to more than £200m due to delays in construction and planning, according to Walter Menteth, a senior lecturer of architecture at the University of Plymouth.

Actress Joanna Lumley, the bridge’s celebrity patron, condemned Khan’s decision not to fund the bridge and wrote in The Times she still supports the project.

Almost £50m of public money has already been pledged for the bridge, which was envisaged as a haven for plants, trees and shrubs in the city.

The spokeswoman said public money already spent would be wasted if the project were not to continue.

“Around £45m of this public money will be lost if it does not go ahead,” the spokeswoman said.

Mosley condemns this response from the Trust, and said that the organisation has an obligation to repay the money.

“The people responsible for spending more than £40m of public money without laying a brick need to be held accountable.”