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Tuesday22 August 2017

Sadiq Khan backs Garden Bridge despite procurement concerns

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Labour mayoral candidate had initially vowed to scrap the scheme

London mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan has given his backing to the Garden Bridge despite worries over the project’s procurement.

The £175 million bridge has been at the centre of a row over whether current mayor Boris Johnson broke procurement rules when awarding the crossing to Thomas Heatherwick’s practice.

Speaking about the bridge, Khan told the Evening Standard: “I fully support the Garden Bridge. However, there are real concerns about the procurement process at City Hall and these need to be fully investigated by the next mayor.”

An FOI request by Lib Dem mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon revealed that days before Transport for London released the tender for the project, Johnson was going on a 48-hour trip to Apple in San Francisco with City Hall staff and Heatherwick.

The Bridge is being funded through £60 million of public funding, of which £20 million is now a loan.

Last year Khan had promised to scrap the scheme if elected as it did not represent value for money but performed a U turn after part of the funding arrangement for the bridge was changed from a grant to a loan.

Last month, Conservative candidate for the mayor’s role Zac Goldsmith publicly backed plans for the bridge and described the procurement plans as “thorough”.

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Readers' comments (28)

  • Today it was revealed by LBC that TfL have drawn up contingency plans to turn into a Garden Pier from the North side.

    Every day reveals new lies, coverups, shambles and nonsense. How could £60m of Dept for Transport and TfL money be put into a pier? It's illogical.

    But money isn't the only issue. As you report, the procurement is widely considered to have been illegal and sham.

    The views from Waterloo Bridge and the South Bank will be totally compromised and it appears English Heritage may not have followed their own proper protocal (see also the Strand!)

    The start time is now hugely late for construction, yet the end-date remains the same, meaning the costs will only shoot up and either the public will pick up the difference or it will be value-engineered to a patio.

    And how even small trees could withstand the kinds of winds we had last night as they sit in 4 metres of soil in the middle of a hurricane filled estuary I just don't know.

    The whole thing is nonsense from the beginning, and now people and media are waking up to the truths and more is being revealed daily, it just cannot carry on.

    www.afollyforlondon.co.uk/takeaction

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  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    Sicko. I hoped Khan was more intelligent. He's probably playing politics.

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  • What a sour lot the anti-Garden bridge brigade are! The bridge will be hugely popular with Londoners and visitors alike, which (I would suggest) is why both Mayoral candidates support it. They speak for the public, unlike the little clique of antis who've vainly tried to inflict their unrepresentative views on the rest of us. Bring it on! Maritz Vandenberg.

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  • Hi Franz & Maritz.

    not sure what is "sour" about hoping for procurement to be legal, hoping that developments that pretend to be green don't actually damage the environment, that protected views are actually protected so we can still read the historical context of the city, that public places remain public, that locals are listened to in planning processes, that the city isn't sold off to organisations and private orgs without anyone realising, that London stays a living city rather than a selfie-op for a tourist experience with "disney style queues", and that when Transport For London and Dept for Transport invest £60m of our money it is actually for transport reasons and not because their chair knows an actress who wants a monument.

    None of that is sour. It's all rational and quite utopian.

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  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    That bridge was designed by someone who doesn't know anything about bridges or their design. It's a very poor imitation of an out-of-date nineteenth design that completely ignores the innovations that took place with the great bridge engineers, many of them British, like Brunel or Fowler and Baker (designers of the Forth Bridge). If we really need a new bridge in this location, why can't we have an exciting piece of engineering instead of this sad chocolate-box kitsch designed by an idiot who knows nothing but who has lots of influential connections?

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  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    Why isn't the British engineering profession up in arms about this? It brings disgrace on them.

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  • How does Franz/Maritz ALWAYS know that he is so representative.
    And that the garden bridge will be so popular.
    Maybe it will, but that is not the point.
    It has been foisted upon us in record time by a wholly unrepresentative crowd, giving our money away. It will be private property, even though we have paid for it, and I bet we will charged for entrance before very long.

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  • "They speak for the public"

    It is a bloody disgrace that both of these mayoral candidates endorse (and ignore) all the blatantly negative points articulated so well by Mr Jennings above.

    If they do indeed speak for the public, the public must have the interlectual rigour and grasp on reality of a group of not particularly bright 5 year olds.

    Pathetic.

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  • "interlectual"!?

    intellectual - too busy foaming at the mouth ...

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  • chris1608

    Khan showing early that he is just like the rest...

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