The Garden Bridge Trust, the charity established to build and run the proposed Garden Bridge, says it had no choice but to take the decision to close the project. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, wrote to Chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, Lord Mervyn Davies, stating that he wasn’t prepared to sign the guarantee for the annual maintenance costs of the Bridge. This guarantee for maintenance was a condition of planning consent, and despite previous assurances of his support his letter shows this is no longer the case.
The Garden Bridge Trust has explored as many viable options as possible, including having discussions with a potential benefactor who was keen to provide the required guarantee, and further discussions with the Government. It seems that as the project was always designed to be a public project, the benefactor concerned and the Trustees have concluded that they cannot proceed without the support of the Mayor.
Lord Davies 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 (Transport for London), 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.
“I would like to thank our donors and supporters, who gave us unstinting help and support along the way.”