London's Garden Bridge across the Thames and why it's essential for the capital

Ruth Duston
The Garden Bridge will bring greenery to the Thames (Source: Getty)

London’s success has never come from resting on its laurels. It is a city built on continuous architectural innovation, from The London Eye through to The Gherkin and on to the Shard, London’s prowess is incontestable.

This continued commitment and investment in iconic architecture has played a vital role in driving talent, trade and tourism to London from around the world.

The Garden Bridge will be the next iconic structure to grace central London and will bring with it indisputable economic benefits to both sides of the river.

Read more: Silvertown Tunnel plans open to the public

Organisations of all sizes will prosper from the increased number of visitors and the redirection of footfall brought about by the bridge. At peak times an estimated 9,000 people will commute to work across

The Garden Bridge, as well as an additional 1500 tourists who are expected to visit the gardens each day. This new influx of residents, workers and tourists will have an enormous impact for local businesses on the Northbank and the Southbank, driving people into local restaurants, shops, theatres and museums.

The Northbank, stretching from Aldwych to Trafalgar Square, is home to some of the most historic areas of London. The Garden Bridge will play a vital role in revitalising some of the less well-known areas of this historic district, shedding a fresh light on these parts of our city, and creating new opportunities for its businesses and cultural attractions.

The Garden Bridge will significantly improve accessibility to the Northbank and Southbank, adding another dimension for its residents and the many tourists who visit.

Read more: London councils are making a mint from parking charges

Bringing this together, Transport for London has quantified the economic benefits expected from the bridge. Combined, the uplift to both sides of the river will be in the order of £330m over the 60-year appraisal period. In the short term, this means £13.5m per annum in business benefits, £6.1m per annum in benefits from showcasing Britain internationally and £2.5m per annum in tourism benefits.

These benefits reflect the dual purpose of the bridge, Thomas Heatherwick has designed the structure to accommodate commuters rushing to work, and tourists who want to spend time relaxing in the garden and enjoying the cityscapes, with views of Westminster on one side, and St Paul’s on the other.

The desire to create and build the exceptional is an inherent part of London’s spirit. As representatives of organisations that are focused on dramatically improving the public realm and infrastructure of London, I believe the Garden Bridge as integral to the city’s future.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles