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Hodge transcripts: Apple wanted store on Garden Bridge

Garden bridge revised
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Tech giant Apple considered sponsoring and building a store on the Garden Bridge, according to newly released transcripts from Margaret Hodge’s official review

Speaking to Hodge last December London’s the ex-deputy mayor for planning Edward Lister said he and Boris Johnson has gone on a 24-hour trip to San Francisco to discuss the bridge with the company, saying the former mayor had felt there was a ‘fair chance that Apple might actually sponsor the whole bridge’. 

Lister went on to say: ’[Apple] had an interest if they could build a retail store on the bridge and that was not going to be acceptable.’

He added: ’Basically it was this […] we call it the Apple Bridge and you pay for it, chum. And that was a pretty good idea but it all came to naught.’

Lister also said that there was an idea that Apple could build a retail store at Temple Station instead, which he said was ‘not mad at all. But it then transpired it wasn’t really a possibility’.

The former deputy mayor added that they may have been successful had Joanna Lumley been taken to the meeting.

’Maybe that was a mistake,’ he said. ’We should have taken [Lumley]. She could have worked her wonder on them.’

Transcripts relating to Hodge’s review into the Garden Bridge were released last week, following a demand by the London Assembly.

The documents also reveal that Google had planned a donation to the project. A spokesperson from the company confirmed to the Financial Times: ‘We were happy to support the Garden Bridge project with a contribution, but as the project is no longer going ahead our involvement has ended too.’ 

In one interview, Lumley said negative reporting of the scheme had meant it was hard to secure money from donors.

She said: ’The bad press we’re getting is no help at all. We should be fundraising now but we can’t fundraise while we’re being investigated.’

The £200 million Garden Bridge project officially collapsed last month after the controversial scheme’s backer, the Garden Bridge Trust announced it was being wound up.

However, it is understood Apple is still pursuing its ambition of building a shop on the Thames. In May rumours emerged that the technology company was working with Foster + Partners on proposals for a new a store on the water close to the London Eye.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The most enlightening aspect of these transcripts is that not a single TfL officer supported the Bridge as a Transport project. De Cani said 'it's not real transport... we were directed 4 times by the mayor to get on with it'. Mike Brown stated that 'it wouldn't be near the top of the list of transport priorities' and from a transport perspective its 'business case would not pass; Whilst Sir Peter Hendy was 'raging about it' whilst Dedring 'was on his back every day'. This is stuff taken directly from the transcripts and its a shocking account of how public transport money was spent by Boris Johnson and his deputy Mayor on what was essentially a pet project at the expensive of real transport projects in London.

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