The vision of the garden bridge
Among the beneficiaries of the bridge, who never existed, is senior consultant engineer Arup, who raised £ 7.4 million for services rendered.
The Bouygues Travaux Publics and Cimolai joint venture, which won the contract to build the bridge, received almost £ 21.4 million for mobilization, assistance with planning and preparation, and subsequent demobilization. The closest thing to construction was a church gardening job.
More than £ 4.5 million has been spent on fundraising, promotional and press events.
Fugro received £ 1.3 million for marine / soil survey work.
In contrast to most bridges, the Garden Bridge project was always designed as a visitor attraction rather than a transport infrastructure. The vision was a privately operated footbridge full of trees and bushes over the Thames between Temple and the South Bank. It was canceled in 2017 after costs rose over £ 200m. Transport for London, under the control of London Mayor Boris Johnson, and the Department for Transport had each agreed to give the project £ 30 million. The rest should come from public fundraisers.
The Garden Bridge Trust, the project client, blamed the collapse of the program for the refusal of the future Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to cover the annual maintenance costs. This has deterred potential donors, it said.
A report on the project prepared by Dame Margaret Hodge on behalf of Sadiq Khan was the final nail in the coffin of the garden bridge. Released in April 2017, it concluded that it would be better to cancel the project at a cost of £ 46.4 million to the taxpayer than take the risk. It was also confirmed that the taxpayer funded contracts to Heatherwick Studio and Arup were completed without fair and open competition.
We now know that the cost of what architect Ian Ritchie called “a wonderful exercise in celebrity hype and hubris” was even higher. It was £ 53.5 million of which £ 43 million is non-refundable tax money.
As the Treasurer for Public Sector Finance, TfL last year reviewed the Trust’s payment application under the underwriting agreement to ensure that the ultimate cost of any portion of the government was kept to a minimum.
The review examined the application in depth to ensure that payments to third parties under the agreement were fully justified.
TfL has now completed its review and confirmed that the final amount to be paid to the Trust is £ 5.5m. This will come from DfT funds and include approximately £ 500,000 for future liabilities and contingent liabilities related to the formal dissolution of the trust as required by the Charity Commission.
It’s around 40% lower than it could have been, TfL said. This also means that the final public sector spending will be around £ 43m – split between £ 24m from TfL and £ 19m from DfT.
TfL has received legal advice that neither it nor the DfT have a reasonable prospect of reclaiming the money.
Alex Williams, TfL Director of Urban Planning, said, “As part of our ongoing commitment to transparency, we have released the final financial breakdown for the Garden Bridge project, as well as any evidence sought in this review, on behalf of the Trust.
“We have tried to keep costs to the public sector as low as possible. After carefully reviewing the Garden Bridge Trust’s request, we have now confirmed final payment, which is required by law under the terms of the government’s signature agreement.
“This officially ends our participation in the project.”
All documents published by TfL on the Garden Bridge Trust project can be found at tfl.gov.uk/corporate/publications-and-reports/temple-footbridge
… celebrity hype and hubris