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Garden Bridge to be built 'within 1,000 days'


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.’



Readers' comments (7)

  • So it's also modern methods of construction that will make this white elephant fly. It is incredible that so much public money can be channeled to this frippery. A worthy contender for the pages of the FT How to Spend it magazine, not for the serious subject of building cities for people.

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  • 'Bullish' is about right for a rather private project that is getting a big fat boost of £60 million of public money from a couple of 'old pals' from the Bullingdon club, and their perception of values at this time of drastic 'national belt tightening' in the public sector seems to be remarkably warped, to put it mildly. True, the Festival of Britain was staged at a time when the country was worn out, but this bridge is no morale-booster, it's a grand folly that might be fine in someone's private park but - if built - will go down in history as a very expensive (and intrusive) monument to some preening public figures at a time when the general population was being expected to accept massive cuts in the welfare state.

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  • With the proposed construction method, shall we risk seeing an unflattering root graft at low tide?

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  • Why is it that the bridge construction can't be done in Britain by British engineers and builders rather than being transported from Italy, through the Med and up the Thames - how ridiculous is that??

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  • So it turns out that this supposed icon of British creativity will actually be an Italian import. When such details are reported in the Evening Standard as well as the architectural press, we'll be having a broad and open debate about this monstrous project at last. Meanwhile, its publicity machine flourishes in the protective bubble of the power elite.

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  • This private gimmicky tourist bridge is an outrage...it is being built on PUBLIC open space.. being the river itself and the land either side. The garden bridge trust propose to build their gigantic landing platform with lifts, offices and cafe/ retail franchises on Queen's Walk on the Southbank. They would chop down 30 mature trees to build the thing! This is non for profit PUBLIC land! It is calm unfettered open space! It has amazing spacious views of the urban river landscape!
    Lumley / Heatherwick / Johnson / Osbourne /Lebedev...all in it together...they have no concept of ambience and the need for calm open spaces in the middle of a capital city. They see a space and think..yah...purrfect for my ego, my partying Harrods friends, making loadsa money and making London even more like Dubai Disneyland.
    Keep these uncultured ignorant schemers and developers off our public open spaces.

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  • "currently identifying key design priorities" sounds very like "value engineering" ie cost cutting. Wonder what we will finally be getting?

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