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Thames Garden Bridge 'would have a major impact on views' says City


The City of London has raised concerns about how Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed £175million Thames Garden Bridge could ‘obstruct’ key protected views

The corporation was responding to consultation by Westminster City Council and the London Borough of Lambeth on an application for the ‘green’ link between the South Bank and Temple.

The City claims that the bridge ‘would have a major impact on views of St Paul’s Cathedral and the City from the South Bank and Waterloo Bridge’, and could ‘significantly alter’ a key vista of Monument.

In letters to both authorities, the City’s chief planning officer Annie Hampson added: ‘From a large section of the riverside walk between Waterloo Bridge and the proposed garden bridge, views would be severely obstructed and St. Paul’s Cathedral would cease to be a significant landmark in much of this part of the South Bank.’

The City has also demanded that ‘a maintenance plan is put in place’ to guarantee that tree growth and planting on the link ‘does not obscure the views’ of Christopher Wren’s landmark cathedral which are ‘protected under St Paul’s Heights, Monument Views or LVMF Mayoral strategic views’.

In addition, the letter addresses the new views opened up for pedestrians crossing the link, which lands within the City of London’s boundaries. It reads: ‘The Garden Bridge would create new views of [St Pauls] Cathedral and the City from most of its length at times when it is open. Existing night-time views that are adversely affected or lost due to the Garden Bridge would not be mitigated by new views from the Garden Bridge as it is not intended to be open to the public at night.

‘The new views would be closer than the existing protected views from Waterloo Bridge with slightly different geometry, leading to parts of the existing view no longer being visible and Unilever House becoming a more prominent foreground obstruction.’

A planning application for the bridge was submitted to Lambeth Council on 30 May. Arup has already carried out an impact assessment on the exisitng views.

In response, the team behind the bridge – Transport for London (TfL) together with the Thames Garden Bridge Trust which was has already raised around £90million to fund the scheme – said: ‘[We] are aware of the concerns raised by the City of London about the impact of the bridge on protected views.

‘The Trust and its advisors will be reviewing the comments in detail before responding to the City, Lambeth and Westminster.

‘It should be noted that the Trust ran a collaborative process before applying for planning permission in late May, and has received overwhelming support from the local community. The City of London also notes that the Garden Bridge would create new views of St Paul’s and the City from most of its length.’


A comment from TfL

‘TfL and the Garden Bridge Trust are working closely with the Corporation of London over plans for the bridge given its sensitive location. The Environmental Assessment undertaken by Arup includes over 40 visualisations of views of Garden Bridge, including those with St. Paul’s in the background.

‘TfL and the Garden Bridge Trust are continuing discussions with the Corporation of London about their specific comments and further information is being prepared to help respond to questions they have raised.’

Previous story (AJ 27.06.14)

Thames Garden Bridge construction ‘needs to begin within a year’

Work on Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed £175million Thames Garden Bridge may have to start before it is fully funded otherwise it may never get built at all, organisers have said.

Garden Bridge Trustee and former chief construction adviser to the Government Paul Morrell said that the Trust had set a self-imposed deadline for construction to begin next year due to the disruption caused by the proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Morrell said that the piling and central section of the ‘green’ link between Temple and the South Bank needed to be complete ahead of work on the massive £4.2billion ‘super sewer’ project in 2017 which will see boat loads of spoil being transported down the Thames.

The Thames Tideway Tunnel will run along the length of the Thames from Acton in the West to Abbey Mills and Greenwich in the East.

Speaking to the AJ at a public talk organised as a part of the London Festival of Architecture, Morrell said: ‘When the Thames Tideway Tunnel is built, huge spoils of soil will be coming down the river.

‘It is therefore the harbour master’s wish that we are out of the river by around 2017 in terms of piling and the central section. So that sets us a timescale and to do that we are going to need to start about mid-summer next year.’

Morrell added: ‘We need to know in about a year’s time that we have sufficient confidence that we will have the funds to get the bridge built.

‘If we raise all but £8million we can be confident that we will raise the rest, and we can say to people ‘look it’s happening’ and the money can go straight into concrete and plants.

‘As a charitable trust we have to be very careful about the commitments we make, so we’ve given ourselves a year to raise the money based on that Thames Tunnel target.’

The Thames Garden Bridge Trust has currently raised approximately £90million to fund the bridge, with £30million of that total pledged by the Government from the National Infrastructure Plan and a further £30million by the Mayor of London. A planning application for the bridge was submitted to Lambeth Council on 30 May.

The three main backers of the Thames Garden Bridge, Joanna Lumley, Thomas Heatherwick and Dan Pearson discussed the project in public together for the first time on Thursday [June 26] at the Siobhan Davies Dance Studios as part of the London Festival of Architecture.

During a Q&A session at the talk Lumley said that there was no plan to sell the naming rights to the Bridge: ‘We have a name, it’s the Thames Garden Bridge. Londoners though do have an ability to make up names for things, so I am sure it will get a name in the future’.

Designer Thomas Heatherwick explained how the new bridge would act as a catalyst to link the South Bank to the North Bank as a single arts centre which spanned the Thames from Covent Garden to Royal Festival Hall.

‘We realised there was room to reconnect us to the river and shine a light on this part of London. Waterloo Bridge is fantastic for things with wheels on, but we were looking for something which is fantastic for things with legs on.’

Garden designer Dan Pearson said that the bridge had to carefully consider the wider context of central London’s existing iconic attractions if it was going to be a success: ‘One of the things we’ve had to consider very carefully is how we frame London.

‘One of the magical things about a garden is that it frames things in different ways, and allows us to mix views of both St Pauls, Somerset House and The Shard, which we want to have people occupy and enjoy during their time on the bridge.’




Readers' comments (4)

  • The main rendering picture is "as seen from Waterloo Bridge". NOW, please look carefully on this animation I quickly made : http://makeagif.com/i/d8noLj ......the "Bridge" discussion suddenly becomes futile, in respect to the other point I make without words, in the animation... Let's try to do discussions in full perspective, and not in ill supported legal terms (Citation: ‘protected under St Paul’s Heights, Monument Views or LVMF Mayoral strategic views’.) Reactions welcome ! https://twitter.com/teamatonce/status/497005310822068224

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  • As I recall, the City has been rather less concerned about impacts on views of St Pauls whenever high buildings have been proposed in the Square Mile!

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  • sometimes it seems that people are scarred to say what they really think through fear of being shouted down. Nice scheme, wrong place. Nothing like the high line which essentially recycled an existing piece of structure - this is an expensive new 'park' that blocks the best view of London from waterloo bridge and the south bank. This is not a sustainability driven project and if it was there would be a multitude of better ways to spend £175million; and it is not a transport driven project (what is the cost:benefit ratio?). As great as it may be the existing situation is better. There I've said it.

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  • iain meek

    I agree with Chris Medland on this. Well said.

    As for high rise in the City, I guess this is what keeps the City rich and able to support all sorts of activities- such as Hampstead Heath, etc,etc,etc. Some wise people set up the strategic views of St Paul's years ago and the City seems to be sticking to those.

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