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TfL grilled over ‘unfair’ Garden Bridge contest


Riveting stuff. Worth watching in its entirety. I thought Caroline Pidgeon and Tom Copely were especially good, as of course was this magazine's Will Hurst. The profession and the general public owe him a big debt of gratitude for his perseverance in bringing this scandal to light. I sincerely hope that he is motivated to keep doggedly chipping away at it. It matters. In fairness to Richard De Cani, I thought he made a valiant attempt to defend the indefensible. He was clearly thrown a hospital pass by the Mayor's office, which is the real culprit here. Leaving aside the politeness of parliamentary procedure, it is now abundantly clear what has happened. Heatherwick and Lumley lobbied the Mayor; he fell in love with the idea of this particular bridge, by this particular designer in this particular location; he instructed TFL to make it happen. Every action that they have since taken has been to twist and bend every process and procedure to achieve the Mayor's desired outcome. I am frustrated that nobody made this critical point. De Cani kept returning to the idea that the Heatherwick submission best responded - in the round - to the context of the brief. Of course it did. By the audit's own findings, Heatherwick helped to define TFL's perception of the need and context through his pre-contest lobbying of the Mayor, which in turn triggered the competition. It is a completely circular argument. De Cani acknowledged that TFL didn't do any specific work to define the need for a bridge of any description or in any particular location until AFTER this procurement process had been completed. So they could only interpret responses through the prism of an analysis that was previously GIVEN to them by one of the eventual bidders. In effect, Heatherwick wrote his own brief. How in the name of logic and reason can that be considered a fair and competitive process? The whole thing is an absolute farce from top to bottom and side to side. Val Shawcross's obvious exasperation at the revelation that the 'land of community value' defence is rendered moot by the fact that the eventual land transaction will be between one charity and another spoke volumes. The cynical and manipulative way in which this project is bulldozering any obstacle in its path is simply breathtaking. Unprofessional, unethical and immoral. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves. Keep at it, Will Hurst. Your work is in the tradition of the best investigative journalism. The truth will out if more journalists like you appreciate the true implication of what this project says about what is becoming of London and its government.

Posted date

18 September, 2015

Posted time

7:46 pm


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