Important note: posts in the blog section on Save East Coast Rewards reflect the views of the individual poster and don't necessarily reflect the views of others involved in the campaign. ^DH
When I first heard of proposals for the garden bridge I thought it sounded a rather nice idea, particularly as it was supposed to be funded by private capital. The more research I do into the bridge the more I believe it's not going to be an asset to the city but rather an eyesore. Add to the fact that now up to £60 million has been allocated to this project from the taxpayer when many cuts are being made elsewhere, plus a £2 millon annual maintenance budget it's now a big burden on the UK's finances. It's poor for the environment too, many mature trees will be chopped down on the South Bank for the landing point of the bridge as well as to add commercial premises and space for a queuing system, tonnes of concrete will be needed for its construction and it will impact the views of London from the other bridges.
If you can't stand to see your taxes wasted in this way or just love London have a read of some of the articles linked to at the bottom of this page to see what a farce this whole project is.
Who supports it?
The current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, supports it as do the two leading mayoral candidates Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Kahn but is rejected by all other mayoral candidates. Boris is well known for his costly vanity projects such as the cable car that cost millions but few use it and is friends with Joanna Lumley who wanted this bridge built, she had previously proposed the bridge to Ken Livingstone who rejected the idea. Another supporter of the bridge is Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev which is one reason that the two key mayoral candidates support it, in London the Evening Standard still has a lot of influence in elections. Sky is another supporter of the bridge which means it also gets favourable coverage in the Murdoch owned press.
How to oppose it?
We need public support to visibly turn against the garden bridge before it's too late and the taxpayer is left footing the bill for a blight on the London landscape. There's a list of five steps you can take if you oppose the Garden Bridge, the key ones I'd say are writing to Zac ans Sadiq and signing the petition. If you live outside of London you can still sign the petition and write to your MP, after all some of the cost of this bridge is coming out of the national transport budget.
We're living in times of austerity, cuts are being made to vital public services as well as to other parks and public spaces. If you read some of the links I post below you'll see that the garden bridge will not be a public right of way, it'll be privately owned with restricted access and the right to close it for private functions. Some of the money is coming from the Department for Transport and some from Transport for London despite this bridge being nothing about transport (it'll not be a public right of way). That said I'm used to governments of all colours wasting our money so for me it's the longer term damage that worries me most. The bridge is going to destroy part of London's South Bank which is popular with walkers, many trees will be felled and the construction work will wreck this area for the next few years, once opened space will be limited due to the construction of buildings and a queuing machanism. It will be hard to maintain a bridge like this and keep it looking its best, and for something so prominently in the centre of London it would be important that it is kept looking good which pretty much forces the government to keep maintaining it even if the private owners ever decide to abandon it. With the severe fluctuations in temperatures and the high winds it will be very difficult to maintain. Do we really want to give up some truly green space and some of London's best views for this thing?
But it has some world class designers, doesn't it?
The chief designer of the bridge is Thomas Heatherwick who's considered a world class designer, but some of his designs have failed to stand the test of time. The most famous one I know of was the "Blue Carpet" which I know well because I lived in Newcastle when it was built. It cost £1.4 million initially and was completed in 2001, within a matter of years it started to fade and quickly lost its shine. In 2011 Martin Callanan, a Conservative MEP said that he did not consider the installation to be well thought out or cost effective, and suggested that it should be replaced by more conventional paving stones.
An even bigger Heatherwick failure I've just recently heard about was called "B of the Bang" this was commissioned to mark the Commonwealth Games in Manchester. It was unveiled in 2005 and then dismantled in 2009 for safety reasons. Prior to dismantling there were a number of safety concerns which meant it was kept permanently fenced off and resulted in Manchester City Council taking legal action against Heatherwick Studios.
Now of course Heatherwick has multiple successes too, but would you want to risk a prime site in Central London to something that may not stand the test of time?
- Garden bridge: a project promoted and sold with half‑truths, deceptions and evasions
- Why is London’s Garden Bridge worth as much as five Lancashire museums?
- Boris Johnson accused of misleading politicians over garden bridge
- The dystopian hellscape of the apparently unstoppable bridge
- London's Garden Bridge: a damaging folly at public expense
- Police asked to investigate Garden Bridge contracts after alleged 'rigging'
- Boris Johnson Accused Of "Stitching Up" The Garden Bridge For Heatherwick Studio