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Olympic dreams shattered for Boris' £60m floating river park

Mayor of London’s pet project due to be built by Mace goes back to the drawing board in the face of strong opposition

The group behind the proposed £60 million floating river park on London’s River Thames will redesign their plans meaning the project will no longer be delivered in time for the Olympics.

In a letter dated 16 December – see attachment – to the City of London planning department, River Park director John Naylor said it was “clear that local residents and river users in particular would like us to look again at certain elements of the scheme and consider whether changes can be made”.

The letter said:  “We have listened carefully to this feedback, and we can confirm we are now reviewing the scheme taking into account what we have been told.  We are also reviewing the proposed timescales and I can confirm that we are no longer proposing to take the scheme into the construction phase in advance of the Olympic Games next summer.”

The 1km floating park designed by Gensler, financed by Singapore based Venus Group and due to be built by Mace will now be redesigned, with proposals expected early this year.

Under the original plans, the walkway would have stretched along the Thames Embankment from the Millennium Bridge to the Tower of London..

In May 2011 the Mayor of London Boris Johnson secured £60m of funding for the scheme from Venus, throwing his full weight behind it.

But a succession of criticisms, most notably from the Port of London Authority which feared the park could pose a threat to vessels navigating the river, have now stalled the project which was originally touted as a major attraction for the Queen’s upcoming Diamond Jubilee on 2 June.

According to the plans submitted to the City of London, the four acre park would have included eight linked pavilions suitable for a variety of uses.

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