THE GARDEN BRIDGE: the plain truth
The Garden Bridge is a unique and visionary project. It will be an unforgettable landmark for London and the UK. It divides opinion and has created debate, but we remain determined to deliver this project for London.
Our commitment to the project is unwavering. We have continued support from our donors, the government, the Mayor and the public. £69m of private funds is secured (even without a brick in place) and our fundraising is firmly on track. It’s true we have faced some challenges with unprecedented political change, and a myriad of half-truths making up the background noise. But let me set the record straight on some key issues.
The public investment has been spent prudently as was always intended to help kick start our private fundraising drive and detailed pre-construction work. You don’t just wave a wand to make a Bridge happen. We have completed detailed designs, been granted permission for three planning applications and obtained the necessary licences and permits required for river works.
It is true that the total project cost has risen to £185m. This is due to hold-ups caused by land negotiations which have taken longer than expected. While we push to conclude these negotiations, we have taken the sensible decision to put our contractors on standby, saving a considerable amount of money.
We are very grateful for all the support we have received so far. If you back the Bridge, please register your support and put your name to a stunning new public space for London. Our construction plans are in place and the Trust is focused on raising the additional funds Let’s make the Garden Bridge happen.
Lord Mervyn Davies,
Chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust
BUILDING THE BRIDGE
Earlier this summer we obtained a marine licence from the Marine Management Organisation. We have also agreed a river works licence with the Port of London Authority, which is responsible for ensuring navigational safety in the River Thames. Bridge builders at Cimolai’s factory in Italy have been designing and testing early samples of the Bridge.
We would like to give huge thanks to our contractors, including Arup, Bouygues TP/Cimolai JV and all their suppliers, who have completed all the preconstruction work necessary for construction to begin next year. We are also very grateful for the support of our donors.
We intend to conclude all planning matters following the signing of land deals by early next year. A revised timetable for construction will then be agreed.
Here is a brand new visualisation showing how the Bridge will look in autumn. This new perspective shows the view from the southern pier of the Bridge looking south-west, from the ITV Tower behind the Bridge’s south landing point, across the South Bank and all the way over to the London Eye.
Garden Bridge Trust Mythbuster
Find answers to commonly asked questions about the project here
When was the Garden Bridge Trust established?
TfL held a tender for a river crossing in early 2013. A garden bridge design won this competition in recognition of the transport, urban realm and regeneration benefits. £60m of public funds were made available to the project. Following this allocation of public funds, the Trust was then set up to raise the remaining funds needed from the private sector for the build and the ongoing maintenance and operations.
How much is the Bridge costing the taxpayer?
The Bridge will cost the taxpayer around £20m. Originally the Trust was pledged £60m by TfL and Department for Transport. Around £20m of this will be returned in VAT and the Trust has agreed to repay the public purse another £20m of the £60m pledged. The remaining £125m will come from the private sector.
Will it block views of St Paul’s?
Planning permission was granted on the grounds that the Bridge would add more to views than detract from them. Standing on the Garden Bridge and looking east towards St Paul’s and the City, or west towards the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament, will reveal new unique perspectives on the capital’s celebrated views of the cityscape.
Is it true you’ll remove existing trees from the South Bank?
To allow for the Bridge’s south landing point, 25 existing trees will be permanently removed from Queen’s Walk and a further three will be replaced. There will be 270 new trees on the Garden Bridge, planted at heights ranging from 3m to 8m with some growing up to 15m.
Isn’t this privatising public space?
The Garden Bridge will be owned and managed by the Trust. As a not-for-profit charity set up to provide public benefit, we will operate the bridge as a public space - the crossing will be free and open to all 365 days a year.
Will there be disabled access?
It will be fully accessible at both ends. At the Northbank, there will be a ramp onto the roof of Temple Underground station and then two lifts to the bridge deck. On the South Bank, the south landing terrace and the bridge deck will be accessible by two lifts.
Please see the full Q&A about the Garden Bridge on our website here