Construction of a new Garden Bridge over the River Thames could begin next year after the scheme was given the green light by the Mayor of London’s office.
The Garden Bridge will provide a dedicated crossing of the Thames for pedestrians in central London, helping to contribute to the Mayor’s strategy for making central London a more attractive and accessible place for walking. The bridge is set to support economic growth and planned regeneration on both sides of the river.
Designed by Thomas Heatherwick – who created the cauldron for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – the Garden Bridge will be 366m long and will connect Temple on the north bank to the South Bank. It is estimated that the bridge will attract seven million trips per year using it as a new way to cross the river. The bridge will include a major new public space and garden that will be free to access and will feature 270 trees as well as shrubs, climbing plants, hedges and flowers. It will be fully accessible, with two lifts at each end and will be open from 6am to midnight. It will be free of charge.
Westminster City Council and Lambeth Council have already resolved to grant consent for the bridge. Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Planning Sir Edward Lister has now confirmed that he was happy to give those planning decisions the green light.
Deputy Mayor for Planning Sir Edward Lister said:
“Having reviewed this application thoroughly, I am happy for Westminster City Council and Lambeth Council to determine the applications for the Garden Bridge themselves. We have worked hard with both local authorities and the Garden Bridge Trust to ensure that the bridge is of the very highest standard of design while remaining fully accessible to those who work, live in and visit the city.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:
“The Garden Bridge will provide a fantastic new landmark for London whilst supporting regeneration and economic growth on both sides of the Thames. It will create a stunning oasis of tranquillity in the heart of our city and boost our plans to encourage walking in the city.’
Lord Mervyn Davies, Chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, said:
“Today’s decision is fantastic news. As well as being London’s newest and most imaginative green space, the Garden Bridge also brings wider benefits, such as reducing pedestrian journey times, creating a new route that avoids busy roads and providing jobs in construction and operations. There will also be dedicated education and volunteering opportunities. We are now looking forward to working with people to create a footbridge which adds to the capital’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, to become a celebrated part of London’s landscape.”
Transport for London and the Treasury have both committed £30million each with the remainder of the cost made up of private donations. The construction contract is estimated at around £90m with the total project cost estimated at up to £175m.