Garden Bridge Trust issues bullish statement on construction timetable and announces Harrods fundraiser
Organisers of the Garden Bridge have vowed to open the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Thames crossing in less than a thousand days despite the scheme facing a Judicial Review.
The Garden Bridge Trust has published a revised construction timetable which highlights how the bridge will be completed in less than three years ready for June 2018.
The decision to press ahead with the construction timetable comes despite local resident Michael Ball’s ongoing judicial review challenging Lambeth Council’s decision to approve the controversial bridge. A hearing at the High Court is scheduled for 10-11 June.
Criticism of the scheme has continued in recent months and only last week, Ball took part in a public meeting in Waterloo which heard from a wide-range of Garden Bridge opponents ranging from architects and engineers to cycling campaigners and the Tax Payers’ Alliance.
Under the new timetable set out by the Trust, the bridge will be pre-fabricated off-site in Italy before being shipped to the UK and floated up the Thames where it will be assembled.
Bridge builders Bouygues TP and Cimolai were confirmed as the preferred bidders for the contract earlier this month and are currently identifying key design priorities which are due to be submitted to the Garden Bridge Trust in August.
According to the new timetable dredging will begin in the early part of 2016, and the installation of construction platforms will follow on with the construction of the north and south landings later in the year.
During the Spring and Autumn of 2017 the pre-fabricated parts of the Bridge will be transported up the Thames to be assembled and the bridge itself will open to the public in the summer of 2018.
Anthony Marley, programme director at the Garden Bridge Trust, said: ‘We are all systems go, with a construction timetable that is realistic and deliverable, building in time to deal with issues that may arise.’
A Trust spokesperson added that fundraising ‘remained on track’ with £127million pledged and the Trust’s ‘first-ever fundraising gala’ to be held at Harrods next month.
The spokesperson added: ’The store’s flagship restaurant, The Georgian, will be transformed into a garden, where guests can enjoy dinner, an auction and a live performance by singer-songwriter Jessie Ware.’
A High Court judge ruled that Lambeth Council may have ignored potential funding gaps - a decision which paves the way for questions over the £175 million bridge’s maintenance costs to be included at the forthcoming judicial review hearing in June.
The ruling means the judicial review will now challenge the bridge on two fronts – its impact on central London’s iconic views and its maintenance costs. The forthcoming judicial review was dismissed by Garden Bridge adviser and former construction tsar Paul Morrell as an ‘annoyance’ earlier this year.
Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group
‘The Garden Bridge Trust can boast as much as they like about the proposed timetable for the project, however before construction work starts a number of serious questions still have to be answered, including many issues being raised at the forthcoming judicial review.
A number of serious questions still have to be answered
‘However one area where I will give some credit to the Garden Bridge Trust is its commitment to constructing the bridge off site and then using barges to bring it into place before assembly and construction.
‘Despite my many concerns about the location of the bridge and on other issues such as the procurement process, it does seem that this is one detail that the Garden Bridge Trust has got totally right.’