Garden Bridge under a new cloud following official review

Dame Margaret Hodge's review into London's proposed £200m Garden Bridge has recommended scrapping the project amid a series of damaging reports into the scheme.

Hodge, an MP and former chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, said it should be scrapped because of uncertain future costs.

In January, the Garden Bridge Trust admitted its future was in doubt after publishing accounts which showed a £70m shortfall in funding. Initially £60m of public money was pledged on planning for the bridge. Transport for London pledged £30m, but £20m of that was to be a loan, and the rest was from central government.

The bridge was designed by Thomas Heatherwic with planting by Dan Pearson design.

Hodge's review, which London Mayor Sadiq Khan ordered after taking office from Boris Johnson, who was a supporter of the plan, says £37.4m had already been spent, and even if the bridge did not go ahead it would cost the taxpayer £46.4m.

Commenting on the publication of the report, Lord Mervyn Davies, chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, said: "We are pleased that Dame Margaret has finally published her report after six months of uncertainty. We will be studying the report in detail and seeking a meeting with the Mayor to discuss next steps. The Trust remains as determined as ever to make the Garden Bridge happen which will bring huge benefits to London and the UK."

It has also been revealed that chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust Lord Davies warned London mayor Sadiq Khan "full participation" was needed at the project's "critical stage".

Willerby Landscapes, Palmstead, Deepdale Trees and Arup are among companies supplying the project. Planting is due to start in November 2017.


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