London mayor has withdrawn support on Garden Bridge

London Mayor Sadiq Khan withdrew his support for Thomas Heatherwick's Garden Bridge by refusing to sign vital financial guarantees that would make progress.

In a letter to Garden Bridge Trust president Mervyn Davies today, Khan said he would not guarantee the funds for the operation and maintenance of the bridge.

He cited the spiral potential of building costs and financing the maintenance of the bridge as a risk to London taxpayers.

Without these town hall guarantees, the Garden Bridge does not meet the planning approval requirements of the Lambeth and Westminster Boards.

The mayor's decision follows the findings of Margaret Hodge's independent review in Garden Bridge, which determined that the taxpayer would be better off if the project had been canceled.

"Having assessed all the available information, including the findings of the independent review of Dame Margaret Hodge, I consider that providing city hall guarantees will expose the London taxpayer to too many additional financial risks," Khan said.

"The funding gap is now over £ 70 million and it seems unlikely that the Trust will succeed in increasing the private funds required for the project," he said.

"I am simply not willing to risk a situation where the taxpayer has to intervene and make significant additional amounts to ensure that the project is completed."

The examination revealed that the planned construction costs of the bridge have increased from £ 60 million to over £ 200 million. Hodge urged the mayor not to sign any guarantees as long as the Garden Bridge Trust funding project was not funded by future project funding from private donors.

Khan's letter to the Garden Bridge Trust describes three financial risks for London taxpayers:

»Increase in project capital costs

"The risk that the bridge is only partially built

"Doubts about the creation of an endowment fund to help cover future maintenance costs

So far, $ 37.4 million in public funds has already been spent on the 367-meter-long deck designed by the London Heatherwick Studio office, with additional government funding bringing the cost to the taxpayer, To £ 46.4 million if the project was canceled.

The Garden Bridge Trust lost two major donors, leaving a funding gap of at least £ 70 million.

"According to the previous mayor [Boris Johnson], a considerable amount of taxpayers' money from London has already been devoted to the Garden Bridge," Khan said.

"I have always been clear that not a penny more taxpayers' money should be allotted to the project."

The letter also cites Garden Bridge Trust's inability to reach agreement with the landowner of South Coin Street Community Builders despite three years of negotiation.

The mayor concludes that these obstacles can not be overcome until the floor permission for Garden Bridge expires in December of this year.

British designer Thomas Heatherwick first unveiled the drawings for the Garden Bridge in 2013 and his completion was scheduled for 2017. However, the covered plant bridge, designed to cover the Thames between Temple and the Bank of the South, was threatened Since the beginning of the project.

The idea for the plant-covered bridge on the Thames between Temple and South Bank was designed by British actress and activist Joanna Lumley, but problems with limited use and its funding meant that the project Been controversial since his departure.

The Garden Bridge Trust has been contacted to comment, but he still has to answer.