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Failed legal bid to stop Garden Bridge provokes spat

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Both Garden Bridge supporters and objectors accuse each other of wasting public money in the wake of a failed legal bid to stop the £185m Thames crossing

Mrs Justice Laing refused permission for a judicial review into London Borough of Lambeth’s lease arrangements relating to the bridge last Thursday (September 15th).

The trust says it will now proceed with construction, once remaining planning and land issues have been resolved.

A Garden Bridge Trust spokesperson said: ’This is great news and an important step forward for the Garden Bridge.

’We now need to conclude negotiations with Coin Street Community Builders in order to acquire the land so we can start building the bridge.

‘It is a shame that our opponents chose to waste time and public money on a second judicial review which was aimed at deliberately delaying the project. We look forward to making the bridge happen.’

However, campaign group Thames Central Open Spaces - which backed the challenge by local resident Jenny O’Neill - hit back, saying: ‘It is disappointing that the Garden Bridge Trust continue to waste public money abusing local residents who have a genuine grievance against a council who sells off their public open space for the primary purpose of receiving a “windfall income stream”.

‘The GBT would be best advised to focus on their growing funding gap which now stands close to £60 million.’

The group said it would consider its options on what it described as the ‘limited judgement’ in the next few days.

Meanwhile, trust chairman Mervyn Davies rejected a number of allegations made by Kate Hoey MP about the project.

He said: ‘We have gone through the democratic process of obtaining planning permission, which included extensive consultation with the local community and stakeholders.

‘While everyone has the right to state their views, it is important to remember that this project has come through tough scrutiny…we are looking forward to starting construction soon. Now is the time to get behind the Bridge. We will all be celebrating together when we are walking across the Bridge in a few years’ time.”

Davies said that the trust is not far from being satisfied that it has received enough pledges from private donors to proceed with construction, with several announcement ‘in the pipeline’.

He said that all planning matters, including a land deal with Coin Street Community Builders for the south bank landing point, would be concluded by the end of this year.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • So Mervyn Davies wants to remind us that this project has come through tough scrutiny. Really?
    Would that this were true - that the planning process for approval of something with so much impact on the Thames in the centre of London had involved more than just the two local authorities, that the design procurement hadn't been so blatantly rigged, that TfL hadn't pretended the project to be a vital piece of public infrastructure, that the TfL audit process hadn't been so clearly inadequate (to put it politely), that the Mayor hadn't been so obviously dishonest in his promotion of the project, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer hadn't been so keen to grant financial favours to the promoters of a vanity project while simultaneously preaching austerity and belt tightening for the country - and that the current mayor and government don't seem to have the guts to make a stand against a catalogue of sleaze. A monument in the making? To what?

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  • A monument to the great British tradition of follys.... the difference with this one is that it is to be built in a public space rather than a landowner's private estate, and it will despoil one of the great views of London, as well as being paid for by money conned from the public purse, on unpurchased public land. It is these travesties which make it so unpalatable to many of us.

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