According to a report in the Architect's Journal today, Garden Bridge finally sunk as Trust closes, the Garden Bridge Trust has finally thrown in the towel and admitted that this unpopular tourist attraction and blight on the Thames Path will not be built.  

Having started as a proposed 'gift to London', to be paid for by private subscriptions, the project turned into a heavily guarded enclosure of public and publicly accessible space, paid for by taxpayers' (both London and national) money to create a tourist attraction in an area that already gets 22 million visits a year.  No private money has been spent, but the proposers of the bridge have trousered in excess of £30M of public money and, until earlier this year, were expecting the taxpayer to underwrite the running costs of the bridge.

Garden Bridge White Elephant

Opposition to this wasteful white Elephant has been led by Thames Central Open Spaces, organising community and national opposition.  The Ramblers stood against the bridge because of its impact on the Thames Path national trail and the wasted opportunities it represented for using GLA resources to improve the walking environment in parts of London that actually need it.  Like many successful campaigns it brought together a wide coalition of supporters - there can't be many campaigns where a Ramblers Area Chair has shared a platform with the Tax Payers Alliance - and built a wide-range of contacts for future campaigns.  

The previous mayor (now Foreign Secretary) and the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer (now a trainee journalist at the Evening Standard) backed the bridge strongly, and continue to do so.  The current mayor changed his position from opposition to support, then commissioned the Hodge Report which outlined many of the concerns of the campaigners over the commissioning, funding and desirability of the project.  In April, Mayor Khan revoked all Mayoral and GLA support for the project.

With time running out on the planning permissions, and getting little traction in finding private funding for such a controversial project, the Garden Bridge Trust has admitted defeat today.

There will be time for a more lengthy post-mortem later but, in the meantime The Ramblers:

  • Thanks Thames Central Open Spaces for their dogged leadership of the campaign
  • Thanks the Mayor for seeing the bridge for what it was and cancelling it
  • Looks forward to working with TfL and the Walking and Cycling Commissioner on the development of bridges and other projects for active travel across the Thames where they are actually needed, such as the Rotherhithe-Canary Wharf bridge.