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A £200m Garden Bridge project has been scrapped the charity established to build and run it announced today.
The controversial bridge which was originally devised by actress Joanna Lumley and supported by former mayor of London Boris Johnson, would have featured 270 trees and thousands of plants and extended over the River Thames from Temple to South Bank.
The Garden Bridge Trust, the charity behind the project said it has informed the mayor of London, as well as Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport, of its decision, taken because of ‘lack of support’ for the project going forward from the mayor Sadiq Khan.
The trust said it had ‘no choice’ but to wind up the project as they cannot ‘proceed with what was always designed to be a public project’ without the support of the mayor of London.
In April, Khan wrote to Lord Mervyn Davies, Chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, stating that he was not prepared to sign the guarantee for the annual maintenance costs of the Bridge, needed for planning permission, as he said it would expose taxpayers to financial risk.
Since the mayor’s decision the trust has been looking for other funding, including ‘further discussions with the government’. However, the trust said that the benefactors and the Trustees concerned concluded the project could not go ahead without support for the mayor.
In a letter to Khan outling the reasons for the decision to scrap the project Davis said: “It is with great regret that Trustees have concluded that without Mayoral support the project cannot be delivered.
“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 Garden Bridge would have been a unique place; a beautiful new green space in the heart of London, free to use and open to all, showcasing the best of British talent and innovation. It is all the more disappointing because the Trust was set up at the request of TfL, the organisation headed up by the mayor, to deliver the project.
“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.”
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