Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge project, set to span London’s River Thames, should be halted says a new report.
Labour politician and former chair of parliament’s public accounts committee Margaret Hodge was asked to carry out a review by the city’s mayor Sadiq Khan to assess whether the project to build a plant-covered bridge is a good use of taxpayers’ money.
Hodge’s report has found that the scheme, which started out with an estimated price tag of $75m is now likely to cost over$250m. As a result, it determined that the taxpayer would be better off if the bridge were cancelled.
“I did not seek to ask whether the concept of a garden bridge over the River Thames is a good idea. But my review has found that too many things went wrong in the development and implementation of the Garden Bridge Project,” said Hodge of the report.
“Value for money for the taxpayer has not been secured. It would be better for the taxpayer to accept the financial loss of cancelling the project than to risk the potential uncertain additional costs to the public purse if the project proceeds.
“In the present climate, with continuing pressures on public spending, it is difficult to justify further public investment in the Garden Bridge. I would urge the Mayor not to sign any guarantees until it is confirmed that the private capital and revenue monies have been secured by the Garden Bridge Trust.”
Garden Bridge Trust chairman Mervyn Davies said: “We will be studying the report in detail and seeking a meeting with the Mayor to discuss next steps.
“The Trust remains as determined as ever to make the Garden Bridge happen which will bring huge benefits to London and the UK.”