Mythbuster

People interested in finding out about the Garden Bridge will find the most accurate and up to date information about the project here. This page clearly separates fact from fiction and for more detailed information please read on using the tabs across the top of this page.

 

1. Progress

FictionFact
The Bridge is not going to happen, is it? The project is making good progress.
 
  • We are making good progress on the acquisition of land on both sides of the River Thames
  • We have signed the Construction Contract with Bouygues TP / Cimolai SpA Joint Venture.
  • A legal challenge against the planning for the project was settled in June 2015, with a second challenge rejected by the Court in September 2016.
  • We have raised nearly £130m towards the cost of the project.


 2. Access and conditions on the Bridge 

 

FictionFact
The Bridge will be closed a lot.  It is free to cross and open 365 days a year.
 
  • The Garden Bridge will be free to cross and open 365 days a year.
  • There will be no charge or ticketing system.
  • It will be open to the public from 6am until midnight all year round with the exception of a maximum of up to 12 evenings, when it will host fundraising and community events to help raise money for the maintenance of the Bridge.
  • These opening times are in line with the Royal Parks in the height of summer and other open spaces in London.

 

FictionFact
The project is a land-grab taking public space away from local people.

We want to build a beautiful new place for everyone, every day.

 
  • The Bridge will be owned by the Trust; however, it will operate as a public space during opening hours.
  • It will be open to the public 365 days a year. Opening hours will be from 6am until midnight, with the probable exception of up to twelve days per year when it will close for part of the day to host essential fundraising events.
  • Its conditions of usage are designed to make sure that everyone can safely enjoy using the Bridge and have a good time. They are based on those of the Royal Parks.

 

FictionFact
7.1M additional tourists will clog up the South Bank.

Only 3m will be new visitors, and there will be no queuing.

 
  • Transport for London's Transport Assessment predicts that 7.1m people will use the Bridge each year – approximately 4m of these will be existing visitors to the South Bank and around 3m of these will be new visitors, including about one quarter who will be weekday commuters.
  • Visitor modelling was approved by Westminster and Lambeth Councils, and assessment by independent consultants has shown there will be no significant queues or overcrowding.

 

FictionFact

There is no access for disabled people on the south landing point.

 The Bridge seeks to achieve an inclusive design that provides access for all disabled people.

 
  • There are two 17-person lifts at each landing and the Bridge is fully accessible from both sides of the River giving people with disabilities an easier journey compared to current options like Waterloo Bridge, which has no lifts and long ramps.
  • The design satisfies legal requirements and the London Plan to promote the interests of disabled people.
  • Consultation was held with relevant authorities, including Transport for London’s Equality and Inclusion Advisor and the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
  • Access to the Bridge is a choice of stairs or lifts, as well as a ramp on the north side from Temple Place to the north landing podium.
  • Stairs have been designed in accordance with regulations to accommodate as many people's needs as possible.

 

3. Funding

FictionFact
The Garden Bridge costs too much and the public will have to pick up the cost. Most of the cost of the project will come from private funds.
 
  • Over 75% of the cost of the project will come from private sources.
  • The Trust has raised over £129m of the £185m cost of the Bridge.
  • A maximum of £60m of public funding will be received for the project, with £20m repayable as a loan to Transport for London (TfL).
  • We have full confidence in our ability to secure the remaining £56m that needs to be raised towards the capital cost of the project. Our fundraising continues to be strong with active discussions taking place with a number of potential donors.
  • It is not unusual for work to begin on major infrastructure projects without all the funds in place, such as the Tate Modern. The Trustees will take a prudent decision on when to begin construction.

 

FictionFact
Accounts have been mismanaged and you are under investigation. The Trust is not under any investigation.
 

 

FictionFact

Donors are jumping ship and others are secretive about their involvement.


We have a strong base of support from our donors and stakeholders.

 
  • Two organisations did not complete their pledged donations to us because of senior personnel changes. This can often happen in the charitable sector.
  • Only six of thirty major donors to the Trust wish to remain anonymous this is because they do not wish to be part of any marketing or publicity activities. The Garden Bridge Trust respects this entirely and they are therefore not listed on our website.
  • View the list of our named donors.
  • We have already raised £70m of private income in just over two years without a brick being raised. This is a vast amount which demonstrates the interest in creating an iconic new outdoor space for everyone to enjoy

 

FictionFact
You have spent all the public money without the proper permissions and you don’t have a brick to show for it. The project is on course, with pre-construction work completed.
 
  • The Garden Bridge Trust has gained planning permission from Lambeth and Westminster Councils and approval from the Mayor.
  • Detailed plans have been drawn up on design, engineering and planting, how the bridge will be run and maintained, how it will be staffed and managed, crowd and pedestrian plans, road plans, acoustic and lighting plans, security plans, environmental assessments, public consultations, business plans, negotiations to acquire the land, conducting river exploration to make sure it is safe to build, obtaining marine licences, ground investigation work and much more. The preparation activities are time consuming and costly, but vital.
  • The Trust has spent £37.7m of the public money committed to the project to complete these steps. View a breakdown of spending.
  • It has always part of the plan that money received from the Department for Transport and Transport for London would be used for detailed pre-construction work and to help kick-start the private funding drive.
  • We aim to start construction in late 2017.

 

4. Support and public consultation 

FictionFact
There is no local support for the Bridge.  The Bridge has created debate, but there is support across the capital.
 
  • The Government recently re-affirmed its support for this "exciting and innovative" project.
  • The Mayor of London has also stated that ‘I love the idea of the Garden Bridge, but it will not get any more taxpayer's money I [Sadiq Khan] am responsible for’.
  • The Bridge continues to receive overwhelming support from the public, businesses, private donors and delivery partners including many based locally.
  • Research carried out by the independent polling company ComRes in July 2015 showed over three quarters of Londoners support the Bridge being built (78%), with support in Westminster and Lambeth, where the Bridge will cross the Thames, at 77%.

  

5. Transport 

FictionFact

There are no transport benefits.

There are many transport benefits.

 
  • The Bridge will reduce pressure on Waterloo Station, the busiest station in London, providing a direct connection from the South Bank to Temple Underground Station, the North Bank, Covent Garden, the city, and beyond.
  • The Bridge provides an additional crossing option for people to cross the river without relying on public transport or cars.
  • Transport for London has set out the case for thirteen new crossings of the Thames, with nine of these in east London (east of Tower Bridge). The Garden Bridge is part of this strategy, which is called 'Connecting the Capital'.
  • On weekdays it is forecast that over 9,000 people will use the Garden Bridge to commute to work.
  • A new footbridge in this location – right in the heart of central London – will help connect the city and make it an easier place to walk around. This will in turn reduce pressure on the public transport network.

 

6. Views and position 

FictionFact

The Bridge will spoil all the good views.

It will provide new views.

 
  • Planning permission was granted on the grounds that the Bridge would add more to views than detract from them.
  • The Bridge will create hundreds of never-seen-before vantage points framed by greenery for all to enjoy.
  • Both Lambeth and Westminster Councils considered the impact on views before granting planning approval.
  • The assessment by English Heritage concluded that: "the Bridge would be as a picturesque incident in the riverscape…. Its low slung and restrained architecture and engineering will change the character of views but not cause harm to the setting of, and views to and from historic assets".

 

7. Plants 

Fiction

Fact

The Garden Bridge will destroy 33 mature trees for no reason.

The project will bring a net gain of 242 trees to the area.

 
  • There will be 270 new trees on the Garden Bridge, with over a hundred thousand plants and shrubs.
  • We are removing 28 trees and replacing three, for a net loss of 25 on the South Bank. These trees have to be removed to build the South Landing Building and we have planning permission to do this.
  • We are removing four trees and replacing one, for a net loss of three on the North Bank.
  • In total, 28 trees are being permanently removed, there will be a gain of 242 new trees on the Bridge.

 

FictionFact
The windy environment and limited growing space will kill all the vegetation. The Garden and the Bridge have been designed and engineered to support a thriving garden.
 
  • The Garden Bridge will have 2,500 sqm of brand new garden - specifically 270 trees and over 100,000 perennials, ferns, grasses, bulbs and annuals.
  • The species have been carefully chosen for their resilience and suitability to the Thames environment and some of the UK’s best horticulturalists and gardeners are planning the garden. The depth of soil ranges from 40cm to 2m, which allows root growth to develop and improves the stability of plants and trees. This is further enhanced by root anchors and supports as needed.
  • Trees are currently being acclimatised for the Bridge conditions in the UK.