The long debate of whether to proceed with the London Garden Bridge project or not has ended at last. The Garden Bridge Trust has declared lately that the project is officially terminated. The termination comes after London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the public in the UK withdrew their endorsement of the project.
“It is with great regret that Trustees have concluded that without Mayoral support the project cannot be delivered”, – declared Lord Mervyn Davies, Chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust. “We are incredibly sad that we have not been able to make the dream of the Garden Bridge a reality and that the Mayor does not feel able to continue with the support he initially gave us.”
The project lost the support of Mayor Khan earlier this year. His reasons were the hugely amplified cost of construction and the expected problems regarding maintenance. Labour MP Margret Hodge has issued a report in April that drew attention to such issues. Public funding has already supplied the project with a sum of £37 million, which is, of course, not refundable.
“It’s my duty to ensure taxpayers’ money is spent responsibly,” commented Khan. “I have been clear since before I became mayor that no more London taxpayers’ money should be spent on this project and when I took office, I gave the Garden Bridge Trust time to try to address the multiple serious issues with it.”
Designed by the British architecture firm Heatherwick Studio, the project was first announced to the public in 2013 after a competition was held by Transport for London. Supporters of the Garden Bridge viewed it as a potential tourist attraction and a pedestrian getaway, while others regarded as useless and extravagant as the bridge was set to be constructed in an area which already has plenty of bridges.
The public and governmental support went downhill, although planning approval was granted in 2014. The general dismay occurred after the escalating costs of the bridge had surprised the officials who also inquired about the validity of the funding process.
“The Garden Bridge would have been a unique place; a beautiful new green space in the heart of London, free to use and open to all, showcasing the best of British talent and innovation,” continued Lord Davies. “It is all the more disappointing because the Trust was set up at the request of TfL, the organization headed up by the Mayor, to deliver the project. It is a sad day for London because it is sending out a message to the world that we can no longer deliver such exciting projects”.
Here is the link to the complete announcement by the Garden Bridge Trustee.