Troubled 'garden bridge' could face fresh probe after rigging claims

A government spending watchdog is to be asked to investigate controversial plans to build a garden bridge over the River Thames after further claims about the process to award contracts.

Credit: Arup

Labour MP Kate Hoey is asking the National Audit Office and the Commons' Public Accounts committee to examine the £175m project.

Critics of the tree-lined river crossing claim the tendering process was 'rigged' in favour of winning designer Thomas Heatherwick.

Credit: Garden Bridge Trust

The president of the respected Royal Institute of British Architects yesterday called on Boris Johnson to put the bridge 'on hold.'

It emerged today Richard de Cani, a senior official at Transport for London involved in awarding the contract to project manager Arup, has now accepted a job with the firm.

Transport for London insisted the bidding process for contracts was fair and transparent.

Credit: PA

Any suggestion of improper involvement in either procurement contract for the Garden Bridge is completely unfounded.

Richard was not involved in the scoring of the technical procuremen tand interview process which was awarded to Arup. Once Arup was shortlisted, Richard was part of a wide-ranng panel that took the decision to award the contract to Arup,. which was approved by the Managing Direct of Planning at the time.

We are satisfied that the procurement processes for the Garden Bridge were fair and transparent.

Credit: Arup

Ms Hoey, MP for Vauxhall, said she would press for a Parliamentary debate on the bridge.

A garden bridge might be a lovely idea but it's not the right time, it's not the right place and genuinely local residents don't want it.

This kind of almost fiddling that's been going on is quite shocking and definitely needs taking up.

Thomas Heatherwick may be a brilliant architect but the reality is there were other brilliant architects.