London's Garden Bridge faces uncertain future after opposition at London Assembly

 
Ashley Kirk
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The Garden Bridge is being realised by some of the country’s best designers and engineers (Source: Garden Bridge Trust)

London's proposed Garden Bridge's future may be under threat as it faced opposition at the London Assembly.

The bridge, which is designed as a pedestrian crossing with 270 trees and 2,000 shrubs, is to be partly funded by the Treasury and Transport for London (TfL) - each contributing £30m.

However, London Assembly members voted 11-3 in support of a motion that called for London Mayor Boris Johnson to remove TfL funding for the project.

The motion said the bridge "serves no transport function", as it has no cycling provision and is too close to other bridges across the River Thames.

It stated that public money would be better spent on "pedestrian [or] cycle river crossings where there is a genuine transport need, such as the proposed Brunel Bridge at Rotherhithe/ Canary Wharf, or spent creating and improving green public spaces in other parts of the city."

Liberal Democrat member Caroline Pidgeon, who proposed the motion, said:

There are many locations along the Thames, from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf, where there is a far more pressing need for a bridge serving pedestrians and cyclists than the site of the Garden Bridge.

If the objective of the Garden Bridge is to improve London’s public spaces then it is folly to cut down more than 30 mature trees and reduce much valued open space on the south bank. £60 million of public funding could be far better spent improving numerous parks and open spaces across the capital.

She also criticised the process of awarding the design contract, saying there were "serious questions" arising from the procurement stage.

Labour transport spokesperson Valerie Shawcross also backed the motion. She said:

We’ve seen overwhelming opposition to the Garden Bridge from all parts of our community and yet millions of pounds of TfL and GLA funds are being eaten away by this unwanted project.

It is wholly inappropriate to spend £30 million of TfL funds on what is essentially a tourist attraction which offers little in terms of actual infrastructure.

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