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Farrell: ‘Garden Bridge is an indulgence’

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Terry Farrell has described the controversial Garden Bridge as an ‘indulgence’ and a ‘folly’ and said the priority for the capital should be new crossings in east London

The architect, who admitted he wasn’t against Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘planted’ pedestrian link across the Thames, was speaking at the international property fair MIPIM in Cannes where he unveiled a new four-point plan to handle the ‘unprecedented expansion’ expected across the capital.

Farrell, who claimed London’s population  would increase equivalent to ‘adding a Birmingham’, said the capital had to build new town centres around emerging transport hubs; intensify the core; and make it one of the worlds ‘most liveable cities’ by making it the world’s first ‘national park city’.

He also proposed building 12 low-level bridges over the Thames in east London to bolster development opportunities and connect burgeoning new communities.

Farrell said: ‘The Garden Bridge is a wonderful indulgence – something of a folly. Although if somebody is willing to pay for it I am not against it. [But] if the money was from government then [those funds] should go into these [east London] bridges.’

The controversial £175 million link bridge which will connect London’s South Bank with Temple station had already come under fire for its location.

In October 2014 a local opposition group launched a petition after they claimed the 367m-long bridge should be built elsewhere, while Friends of the Earth urged the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to look at bridges for east London instead.

Last week the Johnson was accused of misleading taxpayers after it was revealed public money could be used to underwrite the bridge’s £3.5 million yearly maintenance costs.

The Joanna Lumley-masterminded Thames crossing was given the go-ahead by London Mayor Boris Johnson late last year having already received permission from both Westminster and Lambeth Councils.

The Garden Bridge Trust has suggested that work on the project could begin in December this year (2015) with the bridge set to open to the public in 2018.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • It is essential that London being so qualitatively diverse enjoys more indulgent follies such as the Garden Bridge. London's appeal is generated by its variety of folk, environments and many offerings. Such a bridge would offer a joyful moment of calm and beauty. The generated footfall would also benefit, through careful design, the comparatively dour northern entry-point. Tom Brent

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  • I too initially thought of it as a folly - and it would be if it adorned the parkland of some great country estate (or perhaps, even better, the arid environment of Lake Havasu City or one of those Dubai suburban developments dredged out of the sea). But imposed on this site in central London, such a bridge would be an arrogant interloper.
    Please, Joanna and Thomas - indulge yourselves elsewhere (perhaps a Russian oligarch would fancy it in his back garden).
    And if the stories about TfL's very 'creative' ranking of Thomas's bridge experience are true, he'd surely be wise to gracefully retire from this imbroglio before it's too late.

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