diamond geezer

 Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Garden Bridge will absolutely definitely not be built.

The Chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust threw in the towel yesterday.
"The Garden Bridge Trust, the charity established to build and run the proposed Garden Bridge in central London, today announced that it will be winding up the project. It has informed the Mayor of London, as well as Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport, who have both allocated public funds to the project, of its decision. The Trust has had no choice but to take this decision because of lack of support for the project going forward from the Mayor."
I went down to Temple station and wept.

This lacklustre corner of the Northbank could have been transformed by groundbreaking design, but instead has nothing going for it, as can be clearly seen from the featureless roof terrace above the station.

What kind of a view is this supposed to be?

It's impossible to see the Thames because there are trees in the way. How much better it would have been to chop them down and replace them with plants on a bridge. But no, the new Mayor thought he knew better.

He's also turned his back on a direct crossing of the Thames at the precise location London needs it most. At present it's almost impossible to walk from Temple to the South Bank, not without hiking four minutes to Waterloo Bridge and crossing there, which inconveniences hundreds of people daily.

And have you seen the view from Waterloo Bridge? There's not a beautiful flower in sight, which there could have been if only the Mayor hadn't been so pettily narrow-minded.

Queueing to cross a sponsored garden would have been a proper experience, smiling at the security guards on the way through the gates, then weaving through the heavy crowds without breaking any of the bye-laws.

What's more the bridge would only have been closed to the public for twelve days a year, or every day if you were a cyclist, because the last thing central London needs is another superhighway.

It's hard to believe that this desolate stretch of the South Bank won't now be demolished. The site currently suffers from scrappy grass, litter-strewn tarmac and a bloke trying to flog smoothies, when it could contain so much more!

How much more realistic to replace it with a beautiful bridge, the space underneath artfully crammed with gift shops and cafes - tourist facilities criminally lacking in the locality at present.

London could have had another world class attraction like the cablecar or the Orbit, but instead a dazzling icon conjured up by the previous Mayor has been cruelly spurned. Fewer international visitors will now flock to our great capital, and we will all be poorer for it.

£37m of public money has been wasted on this drawn-out planning debacle, which is entirely the fault of Sadiq Khan for lacking vision, and definitely not the bridge's trustees who couldn't raise the money themselves.

Next time a privatised bridge comes along demanding public funds, pretending to be a transport link rather than a tourist attraction, we should have the nerve to embrace its folly whatever the long-term cost.

Instead these trees survive, the existing view remains, no further money will be wasted, and some quite rich people have seen their dreams of a floating paradise cruelly dashed. Weep with me.

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