Architect Director, One-world design:
Comment on: Zero-carbon homes set to be reintroduced
time to report this to the met police, action fraud or the SFO?
How utterly crap the Garden Bridge is has been well documented but it has set an interesting precedent in regard to VAT payments on infrastructure projects and the treasuries involvement.
The treasury have donated £30,000,000 to the garden bridge project and have previously stated that the money would be returned to the treasury by VAT payments on the construction cost, which makes a lot of sense. We wrote to the Chancellor to ask that he grant the diamond jubilee bridge the same courtesy that he did the garden bridge.
We asked the Chancellor simply that the Diamond Jubilee Bridge is treated in the same manner as, it that wouldn’t even involve any money actually changing hands, it’s more a kind of VAT waiver -a simple letter of intent would suffice. The treasuries response, 5 monts later, via Greg Hands MP (chief secretry of the treasury and the MP for Chelsea & Fulham) was not just no - it ignored our question altogether and instead pointed us towards the mayor of London and TfL who despite announcing the bridge as part of their plan last december have also confirmed that they have no money for such a project.
The same rules in the spirit of fairness should apply to all crossings. All things being equal this would and should be the case. We cannot understand why it is not and we believe this difference in treatment needs to be explained, not to us but to the tens of thousands of people here in Battersea and Fulham that will use this bridge should it be constructed.
We do hope that the treasury has a change of heart and will reconsider their opinion on this matter.
depressing stuff all round and clearly the story is not over yet.
In the meantime our efforts to build the diamond jubilee bridge - a real and much needed infrastructure project - continue. The bridge could have been built for what TFL donated to the GBT and we achieved full planning consent for nil fee, nothing, nada, not at least £10,000,000 of fees that the GBT spent; zero fees paid by the tax payer.
The project has cross party support and the new website is now live: http://diamondjubileebridge.london/
Please find below an overview of the history and an update on the progress of the Diamond Jubilee Bridge.
In 1924 Viscount Curzon MP acknowledged in the House of Commons that a bridge for pedestrian access situated between Wandsworth Bridge and Battersea Bridge was needed. As you will be aware the area around Battersea Railway Bridge, on both sides of the river, has seen a renaissance in recent years. Thousands of new apartments as well as many restaurants and bars and two 5* hotels have been constructed in the area, opening up the riverfront to leisure and thoroughfare. Many more developments are planned and under construction in the immediate vicinity. A new pedestrian and cycle bridge alongside the railway bridge will enable greater integration between the north and south of the river both in terms of transport and economic activity whilst also having a positive impact on the environment and creating an extension to the amenity space and linear park of the Thames Path. During the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations the Queen boarded the Flotilla and set sail from this very location. A new pedestrian and cycle link here at this time will be a fitting legacy for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and one which makes financial, business, infrastructure and common sense.
Planning Policy, TfL & Local Authority Support
The bridge is supported both by local authority and GLA planning policy. Planning consent has been granted in Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham and by the GLA. The Mayor and TfL announced the diamond jubilee bridge as part of a wider ambition to build several Thames crossings and it was covered widely in the press last December, however TfL’s have made no financial commitment but their positive engagement is of course welcomed. Wandsworth have recently adopted an SPD that will enable the council in future to assign CIL contributions to a bridge and a recent S106 agreement with Barratt London has secured the piling of the bridges foundations on the Battersea side of the river (expected to be complete this July).
Cost & Funding
With an estimated build cost of £26m (plus risk 10%), Wandsworth’s financial appraisal indicates that the scheme has a Benefit/Cost Ratio (BCR) of 2.0:1. This indicates that the scheme would provide high value for money, with a BCR above the TfL pass mark of 1.5:1 and at the level representing high value for money in Department for Transport guidance. It has always been our intention to achieve corporate sponsorship for the full amount in exchange for naming rights and we are still working on this by trying hard to keep the scheme alive to local residents, the press and seeking out any contact opportunities with corporations and potential sponsors wherever possible. Unfortunately we have not yet succeeded.
To assist with funding we have written to the Chancellor to ask that he grant the same VAT offset that you have granted on the Garden Bridge and other schemes that provide and support economic growth as this project does. Specifically we have asked that he provide a capital grant of £4.8m which is the equivalent of the 20% vat that will be returned to the exchequer in tax receipts during the construction period. This grant would enable the project to seek potential match funding from TfL and other authorities and most importantly allow us (in partnership with Wandsworth) to seek corporate sponsorship for the remainder with potential sponsors therefore assured of HM Governments’ commitment to the project. We await his response.
Over the past 4 years, during the consultations on the early design, through the design development and planning process the level of public support has been off the chart. Jane Ellison MP received some 480 notes of support during the planning process and the comments to the local authority in favour of the bridge were in the hundreds. Some 2 years after the planning process we are receiving almost daily communications from local residents seeking details of timing and progress.
At the outset, with an initial idea and a model, we met with the elected politicians of the area and explained the idea. Since that very first meeting in 2011 we have had the active support of Jane Ellison MP, Richard Tracey AM and Cllr Govindia along with the ward councillors and would take this opportunity to thank them all again for their continued positivity and efforts.
The role of One-world Design Architects
Our intention from day one has been to highlight the need for the bridge and assist in any way we can to facilitate it. We have led a team that includes world class engineers Beckett Rankine and Expedition Engineering through the design process. Although one-world design architects have been working pro-bono the vital input of the expert design team has been made possible by the kind and forward thinking hotel Rafayel and its proprietor Iqbal Latif along with Palace Investments.
One-world design have no ambitions of being appointed for the next delivery stages. We have been working pro-bono gladly for some 5 years and have been delighted to play our part in getting the project this far and have done simply because we feel strongly that the bridge is needed and to pursue it is the right thing to do. Our view is supported by local planning policy, residents, local businesses, developers, local councillors, MP’s, the local London assembly member, the GLA, TfL, The Mayor of London, Council Leaders and council officers who have all been instrumental in pushing the project to this point.
The Plan for 2016
In short we need to make real progress on 2 fronts, funding and the discharge of planning conditions. If it is clear that construction work will not start by February 2017 then we will submit a new planning application in the summer of 2016. However, there is still a chance that construction could start before 2017 and that is what we are aiming for.
There is an opportunity here for the right corporate sponsor or private benefactor to forever be associated with a much needed and very popular addition to London’s infrastructure. Yes, its great news that Wandsworth are seeking to raise funds through CIL contributions but it is highly likely that this funding source will form part of a funding solution rather than the whole solution. What we need to attract a sponsor and the press coverage required to do this is difficult to come by with a zero PR budget.
More information can be found on the following websites;
Chris Medland RIBA
we had a planning application refused by Woking Council for a modest new 3 bed family CFSH level 5 home because (to quote a member of the planning committee): ''contemporary design is out of character of the area- we want a 1930's bungalow''...... therein lies a problem. It is subject to appeal and was recommended for approval by council officers