Another £3m a year for the misguided Garden Bridge

This weekend saw the latest twist in the long-running saga of London’s proposed Garden Bridge.

For those uninitiated, here’s a very quick potted history:

UPDATE: Boris responded to the concerns today on LBC, claiming that in fact the £3m a year won't cost taxpayers, just that the bridge needs 'guarantors' in order to get planning permission. You can listen for yourself here and make up your own mind.

The upshot of this rather dramatic reverse ferret from the Mayor, as revealed by the Observer, is that a bridge that wasn’t supposed to cost taxpayers a penny is now going to cost not just £60 million in upfront construction costs, but an ongoing maintenance cost which some predict could be as high as £90 million over the lifetime of the bridge. The Garden Bridge Trust, tasked with picking up private donations, is allegedly £40-odd million in the hole already, so whether taxpayers have to pick up even more of the cost remains to be seen.

We’re not inherently against spending of any kind.

But we are against taxpayer cash going on a bridge that barely counts as a bridge.

I’ve written numerous times on the Garden Bridge (here and here for example) and my former colleague Isobel Croft’s article on the debacle is always worth reading.

The Garden Bridge is a vanity project – some sanity is urgently needed. 


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