London has been planning to build a greenery filled Garden Bridge over the River Thames for years. Something that if completed, would have reminded you of the hanging gardens of Babylon. As the cost of the bridge seemed to be rising above the budget, the London Mayor Sadiq Khan has finally announced the cancellation of the project.
The Garden Bridge crossing the River Thames was designed by Thomas Heatherwick and has been controversial for a really long time. The idea of the bridge came from the actress Joanna Lumley, and the project was backed by private investment. Initially, a government investment of £60 million was estimated for the construction of the bridge, and half of it has already been spent. The project faced a lot of criticism from media for the design and handling, but it had substantial support particularly from the previous Mayor Boris Johnson.
After Khan took his seat the mayor, he directed Dame Margaret Hodge to conduct an independent review of the project. The conclusion said that the initial cost estimate was expected to rise to over £200 million which does not suit the current situation of the city by any means. Announcing that the Greater London Authority will not be providing Mayoral guarantees for the project, Khan said in a press release:
“Under the previous Mayor, a considerable amount of London taxpayers’ money has already been spent on the Garden Bridge. I have always been clear that not a penny more of taxpayers’ money should be allocated to the project. Having assessed all the information available to me including the findings of Dame Margaret Hodge’s independent review, my view is that providing Mayoral guarantees will expose the London taxpayer to too much additional financial risk.”
The mayor has not technically canceled the project; he just refused mayoral guarantee for the running costs in the future. The planning permission for the project entirely depends on the mayoral guarantee. Thus, the project is effectively canceled.
The designer Thomas Heatherwick called the issue an “endless political wrangling” but he hopes that the Garden Bridge or something similar will be built in London someday.
Source: Mayor of London