In news that will make our Editor want to throw a big lavish party, it's been announced that the controversial London Garden Bridge is dead.
The Garden Bridge Trust, the charity designed to build and run the proposed garden bridge, has informed the Mayor of London, Transport for London, and the Department of Transport of its decision to shut down the project. The latter two had both allocated funds for the project, but according to the Trust the lack of support from Mayor Sadiq Khan is the primary reason why the project has been shelved.
Khan wrote to Lord Mervyn Davies, Chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, in April, stating that he was not prepared to guarantee the bridge's annual maintenance costs - which planning permission had relied on. Despite having discussed receiving the guarantee from another potential benefactor, the trustees decided that they couldn't go ahead with a big public project that didn't have the mayor's backing.
The Garden Bridge has been controversial since its inception, even though it had Gurkha-rights campaigner Joanna Lumley behind it. Khan himself doesn't seem to have ever been that fond of the project, or at least the fact that it relied on public money, and put a halt to preliminary structural planning works last year. The London Mayor even launched a formal inquiry, which determined that the project should be cancelled outright because ballooning costs meant it wasn't value for money. This probably wasn't a surprise to most, since it had already been predicted to go way over its initial £60 million budget.
Maybe a similar bridge will prove to be more popular somewhere else on the Thames. After all, central London already has more than enough bridges. [Garden Bridge Trust]