Plans for the Garden Bridge project were scrapped in April but the final cost of the project was £53.5m © Arup
Plans for the Garden Bridge project were scrapped in April but the final cost of the project was £53.5m © Arup

Failed Garden Bridge cost more than £53m

15 February 2019

Transport for London (TfL) has revealed the final cost of the abandoned bridge project that had been planned to link Temple and Southbank.

The failed bridge project over the Thames, which would have been covered in trees and flowers, cost almost £53.5m, with £43m of the sum coming from the taxpayer, TfL has confirmed.

In a detailed breakdown of costs accrued by the Garden Bridge Trust, the charity leading the project, it was revealed that £21.4m had been spent on construction contracts while a further £9.5m had been spent on contracting designers.

In July 2015, up to £60m was made available to the charity under former London mayor Boris Johnson, with TfL and the Department for Transport contributing £30m each.

Plans for the bridge were abandoned after a review in April 2017 revealed it would be better to scrap the project, rather than risk potential uncertain additional costs.

Additionally London mayor Sadiq Khan said he would not permit “any additional taxpayers’ funds under mayoral control to be spent on the project”.

Concluding its review, TfL said the final amount payable to the trust to wind up the project would be £5.5m, which would be funded by the DfT, stating the number was 40% lower than it could have been.

Alex Williams, director of city planning at TfL, confirmed that TfL has formally ended its involvement in the project and that the final costs of the Garden Bridge project were published as part of an ongoing commitment to transparency.

He said: “We worked to ensure that the cost to the public sector has been kept to a minimum, and having carefully reviewed the Garden Bridge Trust's request, we have now confirmed the final payment legally required under the terms of the underwriting agreement made by the government.”

The controversial project had met with criticism. In 2016, a report found that there had been a series of “procedural errors” in the procurement process for the bridge.

The report said that Johnson should have been more upfront about the nature of contacts between senior management at TfL and Heatherwick Studio, which was awarded the contract for designing the bridge.

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