The future of London’s Garden Bridge project is now secure as the city’s new mayor Sadiq Khan gave the horticultural oasis his support.
However he said Thomas Heatherwick’s Thames footbridge would have to be more accessible to all Londoners in return.
The announcement lifts a shadow from the $250m project – a landscaped crossing created by the 2012 Olympic cauldron designer between Westminster and Lambeth among flowerbeds, shrubs and trees.
Khan’s demands include the Garden Bridge to be closed for fewer than the planned 12 days each year for private fundraising events.
It would be also shut for the minimum number of hours possible, rather than all day. The events are to pay for the upkeep of the crossing, which is underwritten by the public purse.
The mayor called for a guarantee that local school children would be involved in planting and maintenance and there would be a rolling programme of visits.
The Garden Bridge Trust should also develop a strong working relationship with parks across London, exchanging seeds and plants.
It comes days after the future of the crossing was again put in doubt after the mayor began investigating his predecessor Boris Johnson’s role in the procurement process.
Khan said: “The Garden Bridge could rival New York’s High Line but it must be a genuinely public and open space for all Londoners, rather than a closed and private space.
“I am determined to run the most open and transparent administration London has ever seen. I will let the sunshine in, which is why we are today publishing the previously undisclosed full business plan for the Garden Bridge alongside a list of its funders.”
Khan came out against it last September – describing it as a “white elephant” that did not represent value for money – and proposed scrapping it.
A spokeswoman for the Garden Bridge Trust said: “We welcome the mayor’s support and look forward to working with him and his team to make the beautiful Garden Bridge happen and deliver its many benefits to millions of Londoners and visitors to the city.
“We share the mayor’s desire to have the bridge open to everyone for as long as possible. Balancing this and the need to raise the required private funds to operate the bridge is important.”