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Vital questions over Garden Bridge still need to be answered – Caroline Pidgeon

November 2, 2015 7:18 PM

Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on today's announcement that Lambeth council and the Garden Bridge Trust have reached an agreement over the public funding contribution from TfL towards the construction of the Garden Bridge said:

"While I welcome a reduction in Transport for London's payment towards the Garden Bridge, today's announcement simply raises more questions than it answers, especially in light of the continued evasiveness by the Mayor of London and TfL in answering Mayoral Questions, or responding to freedom of information requests.

"The key issues that remain are:

  • How much public money has TfL already spent on the Garden Bridge?
  • Why did TfL ever agree in the first place to contribute £30 million to the Garden Bridge?
  • How much will TfL be willing to lend the Garden Bridge Trust over and above its £10 million commitment, and what will the condition be of such a loan?
  • Has a firm agreement been reached about the separate issue of the ongoing maintenance costs of the bridge, or will the Mayor continue to underwrite the maintenance costs?

Commenting further Caroline Pidgeon said:

"In addition to these basic questions there are also key issues as to whether the proposed Garden Bridge is in the right location. Is the loss of land on the South Bank and the loss of views of St Paul's Cathedral really justified."

"Most importantly the Mayor and TfL still need to come clean as to how key contracts have already been awarded. Only last week TfL's director of audit finally conceded that the Garden Bridge procurement was 'neither open nor objective'. These are serious issues which are far from being resolved.

"Today's announcement should not for one moment cloud the very dubious practices that have been adopted so far in awarding contracts and allocating significant amounts of public money."