The cost of the much-hyped Garden Bridge could “substantially exceed” £185m and the project may not happen at all, a report from the charity behind it has warned.
A joint venture of Bouygues Travaux Publics and Cimolai SpA was selected back in spring 2015 to build the 366 m-long Thomas Heatherwick-designed footbridge from Temple tube station to the South Bank in central London.
The controversial project – backed by former mayor Boris Johnson and actress Joanna Lumley but criticised by various architects and engineers – was reported at the time as a £175m scheme.
But accounts filed by the Garden Bridge Trust at Companies House this week show that the latest estimate of the cost of the project was £185m.
Furthermore, a report accompanying the accounts said: ”Due to the hurdles still to be cleared and the ensuing delays, the final cost could substantially exceed the formal estimate.”
Trust chairman Lord Mervyn Davies said the trustees were unable to conclude that the Trust was a going concern.
He said that if certain risks could not be resolved then the trustees would need to consider “further delay to the project and, in a worst case scenario, whether the project remains viable”.
A Garden Bridge Trust spokesperson said: “We have £69m of private funding secured (even without a brick in place) and our fundraising pipeline is strong. We believe this is a strong testament to support for the project and we’re confident that we can reach fundraising targets to deliver the Garden Bridge for London. The Trust has spent public funds on the project as per the funding agreement with the public bodies that allocated us these funds for building the Bridge.”