In these febrile times, it is often surprising that ordinary political scandals keep on happening right here, in our city and borough. The Garden Bridge is such a scandal, as we have been reminded by Transport for London (TfL)’s recent admission that it will pay a final £5.5 million to the Garden Bridge Trust, bringing the total sum paid by TfL and the Department for Transport to £43 million.
To be clear, that’s £43 million of taxpayer money. Without even starting construction. Money that could have been more usefully spent on almost anything other than than this bridge-not-built.
This is simply not good enough. The Garden Bridge project raised both eyebrows and questions from the moment the idea gathered momentum in 2012. Many questions remain unanswered:
- Were the procurement processes advanced by the Garden Bridge Trust as opaque and preferential as they now appear to have been?
- How did the project continue in the absence of the required planning permissions and required funds being secured?
- How did TfL, the Mayor of London and the Department of Transport fail to provide appropriate scrutiny and oversight of the Garden Bridge Trust, so clearly falling short of their duty to safeguard public money and the infrastructure of our city?
- Why did Labour-run Lambeth Council support the initiative at every turn?
By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43311276
So far the secrets of the Garden Bridge have only started to be uncovered thanks to investigative journalists (such as Will Hurst from the Architects’ Journal), the work of many local campaigners and the persistence of some London Assembly Members (most notably Caroline Pidgeon), who have been unrelenting in their pursuit of the truth.
It is now time for the Garden Bridge Trust and associated parties to give their answers to these questions. We must learn lessons from the Garden Bridge and we can only do so if we know the truth. Lambeth Liberal Democrats join London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon in demanding that this case to be referred to the Charity Commission for a full investigation.