Garden Bridge Funding Breakdown

The Ramblers oppose the proposed construction of the Garden Bridge across the Thames because it promises to replace currently public space with guarded private space and destroy the amenity of, and views from, the Thames Path National Trail.

Last night's Newsnight (17th August 2016) focussed on the finances of the Garden Bridge - there's a summary at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37112199.

This section of the programme had a very short piece from Caroline Pidgeon AM opposing the bridge, a longer piece to camera from the bridge's designer, Thomas Heatherwick, and a long interview with the Chair of the Garden Bridge Trust's board of trustees, Mervyn King.  The following interesting facts came out of the programme:

  1. Several funders have pulled out of the project, taking £22m of promises with them.
  2. The anticipated cost of the bridge has risen to £185m.
  3. Delivery of the bridge has slipped to 2019.
  4. When questioned about the large number of anonymous donors to the project (see right - image taken from tfl.gov.uk) Mervyn King assured the interviewer that all but five would be revealed when construction is finished.  NB He didn't explain how the public could be satisfied, in advance of construction, that there are no conflicts of interest or dubious sources of funds in this list.

Taken along with Mayor Khan's promise not to spend any more GLA money on the project, and his admission that it might not be built, plus the facts that the Trust has secured neither the land at either end of the bridge, nor a guarantee for the on-going maintenance costs shows that this project is teetering on the edge of failing.

Now is the time to keep up the pressure:

  • Write to the Mayor to urge him to refuse to guarantee the maintenance costs of the bridge
  • Write to the Secretary of State for Transport, asking him to refuse to extend the Department of Transport's underwriting of the scheme
  • Get involved in the campaign against the bridge being run by Thames Central Open Spaces (http://www.tcos.org.uk/) - in particular, contribute to the crowd-funded legal challenge that's being mounted against the bridge.