Garden Bridge deal was signed despite ‘significant hurdles’
Decision to enter into agreement with major contractor led to £19million of public money being lost
28 May, 2018 — By Tom Foot
How the bridge, planned to link Temple with the South Bank, might have looked
THE trust in charge of the scrapped Garden Bridge project signed a major contract with a construction giant despite a raft of unresolved issues.
Minutes of the trust’s board meetings, finally published last week after a long-running legal dispute, reveal how “significant hurdles” had yet to be overcome despite a financial agreement being reached with Bouygues.
The decision to enter into the agreement with the major contractor was taken in February 2016 and led to £19million of public money being lost when the bridge was scrapped by the incoming Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
The bridge, planned to link Temple with the South Bank, was criticised by campaigners as a “vanity project” of former mayor Boris Johnson.
The issues included a “commitment problem” from donors, a dispute with key stakeholders and the “big risk” of a judicial review.
According to the minutes, Garden Bridge Trust chairman Lord Davies, Mervyn, Baron Davies of Abersoch, sought to reassure the board, advising “that the pledges we have to date in addition to the pipeline should give trustees confidence there are risks but they are not being reckless”.