London's Garden Bridge project formally scrapped
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London's Garden Bridge project formally scrapped

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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
– Mervyn Davies, chair of The Garden Bridge Trust

The Garden Bridge Trust, the charity established to build and run the proposed Garden Bridge in central London, has today (14 August) announced that it will be finally winding up the project.

The decision, which brings an end to one of the city’s most protracted development sagas, has been made with the Trust unable to find alternative funding for the scheme, following the decision by London mayor Sadiq Khan in April to scrap any mayoral financial guarantees.

After receiving a damning independent report on the project, Khan said the lack of necessary land use agreements and a significant funding shortfall meant the project represented too much risk to the taxpayer.

In a statement released today, the Trust said it has reached the conclusion that “it cannot proceed with what was always designed to be a public project in the heart of the capital without the support of the Mayor of London.”

"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," said Lord Mervyn Davies, chair of the Garden Bridge Trust.

"We had made great progress obtaining planning permission, satisfying most of our planning conditions and we had raised £70m (US$91m, €77m) of private money towards the project.

“It is all the more disappointing because the Trust was set up at the request of Transport for London, the organisation headed up by the mayor, to deliver the project.”

In response, Khan has released his own statement expressing anger at the loss of tens of millions of pounds provided by the taxpayer “on a project that has amounted to nothing.”

“Following the very serious issues highlighted in the independent review of the bridge – including a funding gap of more than £70m, potentially unlimited costs to London taxpayers to fund the bridge in the future, systemic failings in the procurement process and decisions not being driven by value for money – I could not permit a single penny more of London taxpayers’ money being spent on it," said the mayor.

The Garden Bridge project will now be formally closed, with donor funding agreements concluded and contracts terminated before the Trust is wound up.

The project, which was designed by Heatherwick Studio based on an idea by British actor Joanna Lumley, would have seen a 366m-long footbridge supporting an expansive garden stretch from the top of Temple underground station on the Northbank to the South Bank.

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The Garden Bridge Trust, the charity established to build and run the proposed Garden Bridge in central London, has today (14 August) announced that it will be finally winding up the project.
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