The Garden Bridge – or Johnson’s folly

If you live outside London you might be unaware of the on-going row over the proposal for a Garden Bridge. The concept was supported by Boris Johnson, with celebrity endorsement. The project envisaged a pedestrian bridge located between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges, designed as a park.

The Mayor of London published a report last week, authored by Margaret Hodge, which identified major problems with the project and recommended that it should be scrapped. Costs have increased from £60m to over £200m, and the procurement processes were deeply flawed. What is more, the project was “driven more by electoral cycles than value for taxpayers’ money.”

Hodge said:

In the present climate, with continuing pressures on public spending, it is difficult to justify further public investment in the Garden Bridge.

Caroline Pidgeon had this to say about it:

This is a totally damning report.   It is a disgrace that key decisions on the Garden Bridge were driven by electoral cycles rather than any concern for value for money.  The report also backs up the long standing finding of the London Assembly that the procurement processes were not open, fair or competitive.

Dame Margaret Hodge is crystal clear when she states that the Mayor should not sign any  taxpayer funded guarantees until it is confirmed that the private capital money to build the bridge has been secured by the Garden Bridge Trust.

This is the final nail in the coffin of the Garden Bridge.  The Mayor should put us out of our misery and pull the plug on this project.




* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • With Boris as Foreign Secretary, London may be better investing in nuclear bunkers so that at least a few Londoners survive WWIII

  • paul barker 10th Apr '17 - 9:24pm

    Its a shame, I really liked the idea, it would certainly have become very popular. Given the upcoming disaster of Brexit its certainly hard to argue for spending more Public money on it right now but I would be willing to see small amounts spent on keeping it alive for better times.

  • It all sounds lovely, so I can see how easy it was to persuade people to get on board, but the practical aspects were never thought through, and it’s become increasingly clear that it’s a non-starter.

  • Arnold Kiel 11th Apr '17 - 8:18am

    Johnson is generally finished. This is one of his early failings coming to light late. If the citizens of the great city of London entrust their fate in you twice, you cannot then turn around and attack (succesfully, for a change) this city’s economic backbone and open spirit. Having lost all respect, credibility, and therefore authority around the globe, there could not have been a worse choice for the FO. First appointed, then sidelined is testament of not only of incapacity. And he is aware of it having even lost his capacity to formulate adequately: “playing” proxy wars or heinous “outfit”… High time for this dishonest man without values, convictions, loyalty or beliefs (except in his rightful personal ambition) to disappear from any public office forever.

  • Mark Blackburn 11th Apr '17 - 8:20am

    A corporate vanity project that would ultimately have been funded by the taxpayer; luckily stymied by a change of Mayor.

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th Apr '17 - 9:10am

    One only has to look at the cost of Boris bike which Mr Johnson claimed would be no cost to the taxpayer, to be unsurprised by this news. His latest plan for public transport seems to be a handcart.

    The fact that this preposterous man will be zipping around the world as our Foreign Secretary doesn’t bear thinking about.

  • Denis Loretto 11th Apr '17 - 10:37am

    Back in February Sadiq Khan said “The position that I set out in May last year remains true – that, given previous expenditure, the taxpayer will be better off if the bridge is built.”

    In order that he may now make the right decision in the wake of Margaret Hodge’s report he must banish from his mind the idea that expenditure already made in pursuance of a project that is now seen as unjustified means that it is sensible to proceed with that project. Anyone who has ever run a business learns this – sunk expenditure in such a project is yesterday’s error and cannot be undone. Today’s decision must be made on the basis of today’s situation and realistic assessment of the prospects going forward from today.

    The abbreviated version is – “Don’t throw good money after bad.”

  • Johnson squandered huge amounts scrapping buses that could have been used for many years and buying buses with open platforms which needed conductors. Not long after he ceased to be Mayor the conductors were made redundant and the open platforms closed.
    These special buses cost much more than the normal ones and are not particularly useful as they have overheating and other problems.
    Fortunately the new Mayor cancelled further orders. Anything that Johnson touches is an expensive disaster. He should be removed from all public offices as soon as possible.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Apr '17 - 4:17pm

    “Don’t throw good money after bad” but how about a simple pedestrian bridge?

  • This is the final nail in the coffin of the Garden Bridge.

    It’s not the only project firmly nailed into a coffin, smartmeters, HS2 and Heathrow, also come to mind, but still politicians insist on continuing with them…

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