Best Of London | By: N Quentin Woolf

Londonist Out Loud: The Garden Bridge

Welcome to the latest episode of Londonist Out Loud, a podcast about London.

This week, N Quentin Woolf meets Chris Roberts to talk about the controversial Garden Bridge. Is it going to be a great draw and an attraction for the city, or a white elephant paid for by the public purse?

The Garden Bridge Trust says there are inaccuracies in some of the information Chris Roberts provides in this podcast. A Trust spokesman raises the following amendments:

  • It was claimed that £65m of public money is being used - it is actually £60m.
  • Planning was not rushed through, we were guided by planning authorities and the GLA through the proper procedures.
  • Groups of eight will not need to book. They will be welcome and there will be staff on hand to help look after visitors and safely manage numbers. Larger groups of organised tours will be encouraged to contact staff in advance, so they can get advice on the best times to visit and how to plan their trip.
  • The location will improve transport connectivity, efficiency and resilience on both sides of the River Thames, by providing a direct connection to Temple Underground and reducing pressure on Waterloo Station. Over 10,000 commuters a day will use the Bridge to get to work.
  • The Garden Bridge will have 2,500 sqm of brand new garden. Specifically 270 trees, 2,000 shrubs, hedging plants and climbers, over 22,000 hardy perennials, ferns and grasses and 64,000 bulbs. The species have been carefully chosen for their suitability to the Thames environment and some of the UK’s best horticulturalists and gardeners are planning the garden.
  • Lambeth has not put money towards the project — £30m will come from TfL and £30m from DfT, 65% of the funds are being raised privately.
  • The Bridge will run programmes and volunteer schemes to educate and involve the local community. Most recently we conducted ayouth board with children from Oasis Academy.
  • We carried out extensive consultation before submitting the planning application to LB Lambeth and Westminster City Council with 2,451 responses in all. Consultation undertaken prior to the planning application submission found 85% of Lambeth residents and 86% of Westminster residents were supportive of the Garden Bridge.

Please do let us know your thoughts via Twitter @londonistsound and @londonist or in the comments.

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Londonist Out Loud is presented and produced by N Quentin Woolf.

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