Tuesday22 August 2017

Pooh sticks banned from Garden Bridge

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List of 30 prohibited activities drawn up

Making a speech, throwing sticks into the Thames and releasing balloons are among the activities banned from the Garden Bridge.

They are among 30 prohibited acts with others including taking part in “any assembly, performance, rally, procession or gathering of any kind” as well as playing a musical instrument or games.

Bikes, roller skates and skateboards “or other foot-propelled device[s]” are banned, although bikes can be pushed across the bridge.

The list of prohibitions means the popular children’s game Pooh sticks, named after AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, would be banned from the only bridge to sport its own woodland. The game involves several people dropping sticks on the upstream side of a bridge and watching to see whose emerges first on the downstream side.

Number 14 of the prohibited acts says people are not allowed to: “Drop from the bridge any item with the exception of devices intended for the purpose of saving lives.” And number 12 means visitors will be unable to “make or give a speech or address”.

Liberal Democrat London Assembly leader Caroline Pidgeon asked London mayor Boris Johnson whether the activities would be banned when the bridge was closed to the public and used for commercial events – as its operator, the Garden Bridge Trust, has made clear it will be for 12 days a year.

Johnson said: “The Garden Bridge Trust will need to obtain a Premises Licence and/or a Temporary Events Notice which requires the approval of the two local authorities (Westminster and Lambeth) and the police.”

A spokesman for the Garden Bridge Trust said: “It is not uncommon for there to be conditions of entry into any public place or park to protect people’s safety.

“The conditions of entry have been developed to create a safe environment for all users and include provision for the safety of those using the River Thames, Victoria Embankment and the Queens Walk, which is why we have included: ‘No person using the Garden Bridge shall drop from the bridge any item with the exception of devices intended for the purpose of saving lives’.”

Last year, BD revealed that people wanting to visit Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge in groups of eight or more would have to apply for permission.

The stipulation was contained in Lambeth council’s recent planning report to its planning committee.

It said: “All groups of eight or more visitors would be required to contact the Garden Bridge Trust to request a formal visit to the bridge. This policy would not only assist visitor management but also would discourage protest groups from trying to access the bridge.”

BD’s revelation prompted an avalanche of criticism forcing the Garden Bridge Trust to clarify its position. It said limits on group numbers were being looked at to make sure visitors had “the best and most enjoyable experience possible” and that it was not an attempt to introduce a ticketing system.

Last week the council, one of the London councils that approved the Garden Bridge, said it was putting negotiations over the land required for it on hold. Council leader Lib Peck said not enough progress has been made in attracting funding from the private sector to make inroads into the £60 million the scheme requires from the public purse – £30 million of which will come from Transport for London.



Readers' comments (36)

  • So I never had any inclination to go and visit, if it gets built. Banning poo sticks however really gets my dander up, so I will be making the trip. And I will get a game in before G4S (or whichever paid thugs are guarding this public bridge) take me away.

    In all seriousness, can they ban a rally/protest at a publicly funded space?

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  • Oh shut up already. This bridge is such a farce it's not even worth discussing anymore.

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  • But, Dan, it HAS to be discussed. It is only through lack of the public discussing that the Garden Bridge Trust and TfL can pretend there is a "silent majority" in favour, and it is only through lack of protest and engagement that developers feel they can ride roughshod over us all.


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  • Agreed Will, when it is dead and buried we can stop talking about it.

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  • Stewie

    Wow, that will make it exciting to visit! Most places are all too happy to have something to be associated with in order to attract visitors. The design is not great to start with so this will make it even less worth visiting. Even still I reckon its still a case of it being said and done on the go ahead.

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  • Will, with more and more revelations of the bridge's inaptitude, it's becoming so blindingly obvious that it should not be built at all and couldn't comprehend why some people still believe it should. But you are right, the public should be informed of this travesty. Hope all these get reported more in mainstream media.

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  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    What is a poo stick?

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  • @Cthululu

    It will be a private space open to the public, so they can ban pretty much most things. Think unfriendly goons around Canary Wharf, etc.

    And the most outrageous thing is, this private space is going to be largely funded by the public!

    And speaking of public funding versus private funding, why has several million already been spent of public money for feasibility studies?

    Surely the luvvies club should be footing that bill, not the public.

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  • The other day I was invited to a 'birthday party' of a friend in a pub in the Canary Wharf area. I went there, and one of those goons you speak of asked me for ID. ID? I'm over 40. "What kind of ID do you require?" I asked. "You know very well what ID is" replied the goon. "I've never been asked for ID in this country, so I don't know" I replied. "Besides, I have no ID on me, but my friends will vouch for me" (I had come with only cash). My friends arrived, tried to get me in, but I was "banned for being rude / too funny". I wasn't going to go in anyway after being spoken to like that. I reckon it will be risky to go on that bridge, in case some bully in a uniform takes issue with your behaviour for some reason or another.

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  • Munter Roe

    Had to google a 'pooh stick'.
    My God, to ban something like this is beyond ridiculous.
    Will those who break the rules face prosecution?

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