Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed London garden bridge over the River Thames could be resurrected after the group behind the project reached an agreement with council officials over public funding.
The future of the project was in doubt after Lambeth council removed itself from the project in September over concerns about the amount of public money to be spent on it.
But yesterday (Monday) a joint announcement by Lambeth, which owns the land on the south side of the project, and the Garden Bridge Trust said negotiations would resume after a deal to limit the money Transport for London (TfL) would have to pay towards construction to £10m, down from an original £30m.
Lambeth and Westminster council, on the north side of the river, have already given the scheme planning permission.
In another boost for the bridge, Labour’s candidate for London mayor, Sadiq Khan, who had earlier promised to end the project if he wins office next May, said that he now supported it. Khan, who joined the talks with Lambeth, said he had changed his mind as a result of the reduction in public funding.
“This is a much better deal for Londoners,” he said. “We’ve been able to secure an agreement which will allow the garden bridge to proceed while saving up to £20m of Londoners’ hard-earned money.”
Mervyn Davies, the chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, said: “We have been hugely successful in our efforts to raise funds from the private sector, with £85m pledged to date, and we have agreed that any of the committed funds from TfL spent over the £10m will be treated as a loan. We are delighted the garden bridge can now progress and are grateful for all the support we’ve had.”