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Garden Bridge scrapped as charity winds up £200m project

Plans to build London’s Garden Bridge have been officially scrapped, the charity behind the high-profile project has announced. 

The Garden Bridge Trust said it is winding up the £200m project due to “lack of support” from London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Mr Khan withdrew his backing for the contentious scheme in April after a stinging report from Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge.

Dame Margaret found “multiple” failings in the proposals and concluded the Thomas Heatherwick-designed bridge was driven by political motivations and “electoral cycles rather than value for money”.

The project, a pedestrian bridge over the River Thames between Blackfriars and Waterloo bridges, had been previously supported by former London mayor Boris Johnson. 

Dame Margaret also claimed the award of the construction contract for the project to a JV between Bouygues and Cimolai SpA was “risky and premature”.

Last week, Mr Khan said there is no chance of recovering nearly £50m of public money that has been spent on the aborted scheme. 

Garden Bridge Trust chairman Lord Mervyn Davies said today: “We are incredibly sad that we have not been able to make the dream of the Garden Bridge a reality and that the mayor does not feel able to continue with the support he initially gave us.

“We had made great progress obtaining planning permission, satisfying most of our planning conditions and we had raised £70m of private money towards the project.”

The charity, which was set up in October 2013, said it had been involved in discussions with a “potential benefactor who was keen to provide the required guarantee” and talks with the government.

However, it said the benefactor and the charity’s trustees have “all concluded that they cannot proceed with what was always designed to be a public project in the heart of the capital without the support of the mayor of London”.

Lord Davies added: “It is a sad day for London because it is sending out a message to the world that we can no longer deliver such exciting projects.”

However Labour London Assembley member Tom Copley said: “It’s a relief that the Trust have finally decided to stop flogging this dead horse. With Dame Margaret Hodge’s report raining down utter condemnation on the way this project had unfolded, it’s astounding that the Trust has chosen to cling on for so long.”

Boris Johnson has appeared to hit back. In a tweet from LBC’s political editor, the former mayor’s spokesman said: “So sad Sadiq Khan has killed the Garden Bridge and wasted so much time and money. Labour has no vision for London and no ambition.”

He added: “The Garden Bridge was a beautiful project and could have been easily financed.” 

The formal closure of the project will include terminating contracts and “concluding donor funding agreements”, the charity said. The trust itself will also be wound up. 

Garden Bridge scrapped as charity winds up £200m project

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