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Garden Bridge Trust reveals planting vision

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The Garden Bridge Trust has revealed new visuals showing off landscape designer Dan Pearson’s plans for the planted Thames crossing

The controversial Thomas Heatherwick-designed Garden Bridge, which is the subject of a judicial review hearing in the High Court next month, will be covered with 2,500m² of planted green space.

Designed by Dan Pearson, who is also working with Norman Foster on his Manchester Maggie’s Centre, the plans for the landscaping involve five ‘distinct areas’ which take inspiration from London’s horticultural history.

The area closest to the South Bank will feature species once common on Lambeth Marsh and central London. This will flow into a woodland area dubbed the South Glade. The central area of the bridge, to be known as the Scarp, will be designed to create an environment similar to a cliff-top landscape. A second woodland area will take inspiration from the parks and gardens of old London, with clipped plants to create defined forms, and finally, the area closest to Temple embankment will echo the nearby Temple Gardens.

Pearson said: ‘I am thrilled to be bringing Great Britain’s passion for gardens, gardening and horticulture to life on the Garden Bridge, using London’s unique horticultural story to help inspire the design. There are so many exceptional moments from gardens past and living green spaces around us today and the Garden Bridge will complement and continue this rich history of horticultural excellence in London.

‘Whatever the season, the planting will provide year round colour and interest with spring blossom and flowering bulbs, high summer flowers, autumn colour and winter interest from evergreens, scented shrubs and bulbs. An abundance of nectar-rich flower, berries and fruit will also create somewhere attractive to wildlife and the planting will also enhance and frame beautiful new views up and down the river.’

More than 270 trees, 2,000 shrubs, 22,000 perennials, ferns and grasses and 64,000 bulbs will be used in the bridge’s gardens.

Construction on the river crossing, which will link London’s South Bank with Temple, is set to begin in 2016 with the bridge opening to the public in 2018. But first the bridge must still face a judicial review next month.

Local campaigner Michael Ball is set to question Lambeth Council’s decision to award the controversial bridge planning permission. The judicial review is challenging the bridge on two fronts – its impact on central London’s iconic views and its maintenance costs.

If the judicial review challenge into Lambeth’s planning approval is successful it would be a major setback for the Garden Bridge Trust.

A successful challenge would quash the council’s permission granted in October 2014 and would mean the bridge would require new appraisals before it could again go before councillors for a decision – a process likely to take months.

The judicial review is set to take place in June and is expected to last two days.

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Readers' comments (5)

  • Can it also include a cycle path

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  • Looking forward to see some inspired hard landscaping...a rarity these days! More expensive than planting in the short term but good over the years if well done.

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  • none of this is actually new detail - and merely reveals even more clearly the 'theme park' nature of the whole project: from marsh to 'woodland' to cliff-top to formal garden in 300m - an experience to be shared as you shuffle across the bridge with up to 5,000 visitors an hour, based on their own estimates. This is neither a garden nor a bridge. It is a visitor attraction, pure and simple - and absolutely no justification for £60m of transport funding

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  • J C Muirhead

    I whole heartedly echo Mr Edwards request.

    Having just returned from a trip to New York, I can only point towards the excellent work of Landscape Architect James Corner and Field Operations on The High Line and its extension in to the Railyards. A fantastic combing of historic urban fabric overlaid with robust hard and appropriate soft landscaping. A truly wonderful place to pass along or loiter upon. This also makes to think how smart the developers of Battersea Power Station were to secure Filed Operations to design the roof top gardens.

    I can only hope that the Garden Bridge Trust have followed the planning process correctly, as I really want this bridge to happen. Though I believe it should be pedal transport friend and open 24/7 with absolutely no charge and certainly not close for corporate events!

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  • To answer Jacky Stevens, according to the blurb on the garden bridge website (questions & answers - fact vs fiction), cyclists are welcome as long as they push their bikes.
    So that's OK, then.

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