Questions still hang over who will fund the upkeep of Thomas Heatherwick’s contentious Garden Bridge across the River Thames
Despite being given the final go-ahead by London Mayor Boris Johnson today (19 December), doubts remain over how the £175million structure will be maintained.
Earlier this month Westminster Council said it was only approving the scheme on the condition the tree-lined bridge’s projected £3.5million annual maintenance costs were underwritten, ideally by Transport for London (TfL).
But during a City Hall question time session earlier this week, Johnson insisted those costs would not be picked up by TfL.
Speaking after today’s announcement, Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon said: ‘There can be no denying that numerous questions still remain over the long-term maintenance funding of the bridge and who will ultimately be picking up the bill.
‘Numerous important issues also remain about the public access to the bridge.’
She added: ‘Will people be ticketed to use the bridge and just how often will the bridge close for commercial purposes? These are just some of the basic issues that have not yet been resolved.’
Proposals for the 366m-long bridge, which is the brainchild of actor Joanna Lumley, were given the go-ahead by Johnson this morning paving the way for construction to begin next year.
The bridge will connect Temple on the north bank of the river with the South Bank.
The cost of the bridge is partially being funded by Transport for London (TfL) and the Treasury, which have each committed £30million to its construction.
The Garden Bridge Trust has suggested that work on the project could begin in December 2015 with the bridge set to open to the public in 2018.
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Questions remain over Garden Bridge funding