Abandoned scheme swallowed up £53.5m in total, official documents reveal

Thomas Heatherwick's Garden Bridge

Source: Arup

Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge

Transport for London has confirmed the final cost of Thomas Heatherwick’s controversial Garden Bridge project topped £50m.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s transport-delivery body today published a detailed breakdown of the final expenditure of the Garden Bridge Trust, the charity in charge of the project, revealing that the scheme swallowed up £53.5m before being pulled 18 months ago.

Around £43m of the total was public money with £24m coming from TfL and the remainder fom the Department for Transport.

Thomas Heatherwick

Source: Elena Heatherwick

Thomas Heatherwick

In July 2015, Boris Johnson, then London’s mayor and one of the key backers of the scheme, said up to £60m of public funding was made available to the trust, apportioned as £30m each from TfL and the Department for Transport. Around £37m of this funding was paid to the trust in a series of payments tied to specific funding conditions.

It had been due to be built by a team featuring French contractor Bouygues and Italian steelwork firm Cimolai after the pair beat rival buids from Bam Nuttall and Spanish contractor Dragados. Arup was engineer for the scheme, which was supposed to have opened last summer.

But it faced fierce opposition with a number of high-profile opponents – including St Paul’s Cathedral – objecting to the £175m bridge claiming it was nothing more than a vanity project in the wrong part of London.

TfL said the final cost included a £5.5m payment to the trust, which will come from DfT funding. The cost of winding up the trust is expected to cost up to £500,000. The Trust has until June to request additional funding from the £500,000 contingency.

The report said there was no “reasonable prospect” of TfL or DfT being able to recover past payments made to the trust.

The final breakdown of public sector funding

  Services in kind, covered under the funding agreement (primarily on securing planning permission, legal fees and TfL internal staff costs) prior to the Trust taking control of the project in November 2015.  £10.67m
  Grant payments as per schedule in the funding agreement  £13.25m
  TOTAL  £23.92m
  Grant payments as per schedule in the funding agreement  £13.45m
  Underwriting agreement (Agreed payment)  £5m
  Underwriting agreement (Contingency)  £0.49m
   TOTAL  £18.94m