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Joanna Lumley’s proposed Garden Bridge for Thames scrapped by London’s mayor

It follows a damning report earlier this month that recommended ditching the proposed Thames crossing.

The controversial Garden Bridge project proposed by Joanna Lumley and backed by Boris Johnson has been killed off by London’s mayor.

Sadiq Khan has refused to provide guarantees for the costly plans because it would leave taxpayers in the capital at risk of higher bills.

It follows a damning report earlier this month that recommended ditching the proposed Thames crossing.

Dame Margaret Hodge’s review found it was “difficult to justify further public investment” in the bridge, which was likely to end up costing more than £200 million.

Mr Johnson backed plans for the bridge in 2013 by announcing the transport authority would “help enable” the scheme, which had been put forward by Lumley.

Mr Khan said: “Under the previous mayor, a considerable amount of London taxpayers’ money has already been spent on the Garden Bridge.

“I have always been clear that not a penny more of taxpayers’ money should be allocated to the project.

“Having assessed all the information available to me including the findings of Dame Margaret Hodge’s independent review, my view is that providing mayoral guarantees will expose the London taxpayer to too much additional financial risk.

“With planning permission due to expire this year, many outstanding issues remain, including spiralling construction costs and doubts around funding the maintenance of the bridge.

“The funding gap is now at over £70 million and it appears unlikely that the trust will succeed in raising the private funds required for the project.

“I am simply not prepared to risk a situation where the taxpayer has to step in and contribute significant additional amounts to ensure the project is completed.”

Mr Khan said the increasing capital costs of the project, the risk of the bridge only being partially built and doubts over a fund to help meet future maintenance bills were behind his decision.

Less than half the funds needed to finance the project have been pledged and planning permission expires in December.

He said London faced being left with a half-built bridge that it would either have to complete or demolish if the plans were allowed to go ahead.

More than £37 million of public money has already been spent on the project.

Planning permission for the project is dependent on the Garden Bridge Trust securing guarantees to underwrite the annual maintenance costs.

The Trust is now reviewing its options and intends to fight on but faces a major challenge to find another organisation to take on the responsibility.


From Belfast Telegraph