London Mayor criticised over Garden Bridge maintenance funding

8 June 2015 (Last Updated June 8th, 2015 18:30)

London Mayor Boris Johnson's decision to use public money to cover the £3m annual running costs of Garden Bridge over the Thames river has caused controversy.

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London Mayor Boris Johnson's decision to use public money to cover the £3m annual running costs of Garden Bridge over the Thames river has caused controversy.

The mayor had agreed to underwrite the maintenance and emergency costs of Garden Bridge in the event that private funds were insufficient; however, this has not pleased critics.

Objectors are proposing to legally challenge the decision to support maintenance costs of the £175m Thomas Heatherwick-designed bridge, as there was no form of public scrutiny or debate.

Mayor Johnson had previously stated that public money would not be used for the project.

"Garden Bridge Trust said it needs a further £47m before it can start work."

Documents for the project reveal yearly fees for bridge upkeep to be £2.8m, while critics estimate the lifetime costs to be around £90m, reports The Guardian.

Recent disagreements over the project plans follow indications that the Garden Bridge Trust has encountered financial difficulties.

The development had received a £30m contribution from TfL and an additional £30m from the national treasury; however, Garden Bridge Trust said it needs a further £47m before it can start work.

Construction of the bridge is set to begin from 2017 and is likely to continue for three years.

The bridge is scheduled to open to pedestrians in June 2018.


Image: Proposed design of London Thames Garden Bridge. Photo: courtsey of Heatherwick Studio.