Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge in doubt following Hodge review

A report by Dame Margaret Hodge MP has found that “Value for money for the taxpayer has not been secured.”

Garden Bridge view
Garden Bridge view

UPDATE 28 APRIL 2017: The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has written to The Garden Bridge Trust – the charity leading the project – informing it that public money will not make up the £70 million shortfall in funding. He also cited a lack of clarity around land use agreements as another reason for withdrawing funding. 

This decision comes three weeks after the publication of the Hodge report, detailed below. 

Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed Garden Bridge has hit a major hurdle following the publication of a report which has found it “difficult to justify.”

The Garden Bridge, designed by Heatherwick is a proposal for a bridge featuring planted vegetation, which spans the Thames and sits between the existing Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges.

The report has been commissioned by The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who asked Dame Margaret Hodge MP to review whether it was a good idea to back the project with public money.

Funding gap

It has highlighted an escalation in costs from £60-200 million and identified a funding gap of £70 million, which has not yet been filled by public or private money.

The report even found that “There was not an open, fair and competitive process around the two TfL procurements for the Garden Bridge Project.”

There was also financial instability found in the finances of The Garden Bridge Trust according to the report, which said that this posed “outstanding and unresolved risks”.

“Too many things went wrong”

Commenting on the report Dame Margaret said: “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.

“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.”

You can review the full report here.

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