Police involvement requested in Garden Bridge bids

14 October 2015, Blog

The procurement process behind the controversial Garden Bridge proposal, which has provoked the ire of groups from cyclists to bridge engineers, has been criticised by campaigners who have called on Scotland Yard to investigate.

The project, originally conceived by the actress Joanna Lumley, is a plan to bridge the Thames between the existing Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges with a green open space up to 30 metres wide. Before the idea had been pitched to the newly re-elected Boris Johnson in 2012 Ms Lumley had already secured the involvement of the designer Thomas Heatherwick. She said in her 2004 autobiography that Mr Heatherwick would be “happy to work on the bridge” and she included Mr Heatherwick in her request to meet the Mayor in 2012.

Subsequently Heatherwick Studio, run by Thomas Heatherwick who delivered the Olympic Cauldron and the new Routemaster bus, beat the other architects invited to submit designs – despite Heatherwick Studio having designed only a single bridge in the past.

There is already much political interest in the £175m bridge, especially as London Mayoral election hopeful Sadiq Khan has already come out against the scheme saying the £60m of public funding no longer represents value for money and he would scrap it. The £60m from the public purse has also attracted the attention of the fearsome Public Accounts Committee; its Chair Meg Hillier has said the National Audit Office will report any concerns which may arise from their inquiries to her.

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