A fascinating never-before-seen document, spelling out exactly how £53 million was wasted on the unbuilt Garden Bridge, has been released by Transport for London (TfL)
According to the in-depth report, Thomas Heatherwick and his studio pocketed a total of £2.76 million including VAT, for design work on the £200 million crossing before it was canned in August 2017.
Landscape designer Dan Pearson was paid £303,000 for his time on the planting for the crossing which would have spanned from Temple Station on the north bank to Queen’s Walk on the south.
However one of the largest beneficiaries of the squandered cash – around 80 per cent of which came from the taxpayer – was Arup, which netted a whopping £12.7 million in fees during the scheme’s lifetime.
Controversially, a massive chunk of the cash – an eye-watering £21.4 million – was handed to contractors Bouygues Travaux Publics and Cimolai SpA, the joint venture (JV) that secured the tender to deliver the job. Of that £2.1 million amounted to the ‘costs suffered by the JV and charged to the Garden Bridge Trust for the demobilisation of staff, offices and repatriation of plant and labour’ after the contract was suspended.
Questions have been asked about whether the contractors should ever have been appointed given the doubts over elements of the project at that stage.
Other revelations in the detailed breakdown include how the Garden Bridge Trust spent £148,000 on visualisations for fundraising, £418,000 on a gala event held in Battersea to find potential donors, and £2.3 million on legal costs.
A huge £1.3 million was spent on marine geotechnical surveys which involved the sinking of dozens of boreholes in the River Thames and the ‘careful search for unexploded ordnance’.
The trust’s various executives took home £1.7 million in salaries during its existence.
The document also shows a major payment of £425,000 to cover the costs of ITV, which had been worried about the possible noise and disruption of construction works close to its Good Morning Britain studio and £235,000 to landowner Coin Street Builders – mainly to reimburse it for its legal expenses.
Meanwhile CABE received £3,500 for its design review services.
The report emerged as TfL decided to hand over a final payment of £5.5 million to the charity behind the aborted project.
You can see the full cost breakdown here