Is London's Garden Bridge doomed? Sadiq Khan urged to pull the plug

London’s controversial Garden Bridge today appeared doomed after a damning audit urged Sadiq Khan to pull the plug.

Artist's impression of the Garden Bridge Credit: Arup

The report by Labour MP Margaret Hodge said the £60m cost had risen to more than £200m and the project’s finances were in a ‘precarious state’.

Credit: Arup

Dame Margaret said the project should be abandoned even though taxpayers would lose more than £45m.

The former chair of the influential Commons Public Accounts Committee was asked by London’s mayor to examine the bridge’s value for money.

The project has already used £37.4m of public money and the agreement to underwrite cancellation costs by the Government could bring the bill to the taxpayer up to £46.4m. I believe it is better for the taxpayer to accept the loss than to risk the additional demands if the project proceeds.

Credit: Arup

The mayor last year postponed a critical decision to underwrite the annual £3m maintenance costs until after Dame Margaret’s report.

The Mayor will now take some time to carefully consider it and its implications. The Mayor has been absolutely clear that he will not spend any more of London taxpayers’ funds on the Garden Bridge.

Credit: Arup

The Garden Bridge, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, was based on an idea by Absolutely Fabulous actress Joanna Lumley.

The charity trust behind the bridge said fundraising had effectively stalled since the start of Dame Margaret’s probe and the project was still £56m short of its target.

The Hodge report also concluded Transport for London’s tendering process for the bridge was not ‘open, fair and competitive’.

We are pleased that Dame Margaret has finally published her report after six months of uncertainty. We will be studying the report in detail and seeking a meeting with the Mayor to discuss next steps.

The Trust remains as determined as ever to make the Garden Bridge happen which will bring huge benefits to London and the UK.

– Lord Mervyn Davies, Chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust

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