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Local MP urges 'landing site' leaseholder to block Garden Bridge

Garden Bridge, south landing site
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Politicians, including local MP Kate Hoey, have urged Coin Street Community Builders to block the £175m Heatherwick-designed project

Hoey, along with three Lambeth councillors and two Greater London Authority members, has sent a letter to Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) which currently has a 99-year lease on the land required for a landing station on the South Bank.

They say that project will cause serious damage and disruption on the community, as well as using public money for a private project.

The Labour MP’s Vauxhall constituency covers the south end of the bridge.

The letter (attached) sent on Saturday to CSCB chairman Scott Rice said: ‘We…urge you and your colleagues to do all in your power to resist any attempts by the mayor or his supporters in government to force the Garden Bridge on the people of Waterloo and London. You have our assurance that we will stand with you in opposition to this project, and all that it represents.’

Lambeth Council is the freeholder on the land with CSCB leasing the plot, granted on a peppercorn rent, until 2091.

Negotiations on a deal enabling CSCB to sub-let part of the land to the Garden Bridge Trust are still unresolved.

A letter of response from Rice sent yesterday to Hoey said that CSCB would give consent for the bridge if it is satisfied with the ’arrangements for constructing the bridge and subsequently managing and maintaining it’ (see attachment).

It is pretty obvious they are not going to be in any position to begin construction in the summer

However, campaign group Thames Central Open Spaces says that delays over discussions on the lease are just one of a number of hold-ups which mean construction cannot take place on schedule this summer.

Michael Ball, a local resident and long-standing opponent of the plans, claims that the Garden Bridge Trust has yet to sign the construction contract and raise the amount of money needed.

Previously, the trust has stated that work on the bridge needs to be completed by Spring next year to avoid clashing with construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Ball said: ‘It is pretty obvious they are not going to be in any position to begin construction in the summer and if they aren’t, they will almost certainly run into logistical problems with the construction of the tunnel.

The Garden Bridge enjoys widespread support across the capital

‘They always argued that this would force a five year delay, which would kill the project. But most engineering and logistic problems are resolvable - including this one. However, the issue by then will be the considerable additional costs.’

Ball insisted that the £100 million construction contract with its preferred bidder, a joint venture involving Bouygues, Travaux Publics and Cimolai, remains unsigned.

This, he claims, is due to a funding agreement from TfL, which precludes signing the construction contract until a number of conditions are met, including having secured all of the necessary capital funding, with the trust understood to be £30m short of the £175m target.

At a council meeting tonight, the local authority is set to reject objections to the proposals for the south landing station by ITV, which operates TV studios next to the site.

The TV company says it disagrees with noise modelling studies carried out by consultants, and says that the new building would cause privacy issues for celebrities arriving for recordings.

Responding to the MPs’ letter, a Garden Bridge Trust spokesperson, said: ’The Garden Bridge enjoys widespread support across the capital. The acquisition of the Coin Street land is an essential part of the Trust’s plans for the South Landing site.

’We are involved in detailed discussions with Lambeth Council and Coin Street Community Builders and we are confident that an agreement will be reached soon.’

Read also: What do polls tell us about support for the Garden Bridge?

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Unlike the Pont d'Avignon - which still reaches the shore at one end - the garden bridge is inelegantly severed in the air at both ends, with steps and lifts down to ground level. If it were to be built in a parkland setting it could be designed as a credible bridge, albeit still a folly.

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