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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Plan for London Garden Bridge falls down

Campaigners throw in the towel amid ballooning costs

The planned Garden Bridge proposed by Boris Johnson in London has been scrapped. Garden Bridge Trust
The planned Garden Bridge proposed by Boris Johnson in London has been scrapped. Garden Bridge Trust

A group campaigning to build a tree-lined pedestrian bridge across the River Thames in central London scrapped the controversial project after it ran into opposition from the mayor Sadiq Khan.

The Garden Bridge Trust said Monday it had “no choice” but to drop the plan because of the mayor’s lack of support. The project had been criticised for its ballooning costs, after an initial estimate of £60 million (Dh285.9m) was raised to £200m. Khan’s Conservative predecessor, Boris Johnson, had championed the idea of the bridge.

Mr Khan wrote to the chairman of the bridge trust in April saying he was not prepared to sign a guarantee for the annual maintenance costs, it said on Monday. Without the guarantee, the project could not go ahead.

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A review into the planned structure by the policymaker Margaret Hodge, a member of Mr Khan’s Labour Party, found that “decisions on the Garden Bridge were driven by electoral cycles rather than value for money”. She added that with current pressures on public spending, “it is difficult to justify further public investment in the Garden Bridge”.

The decision to cancel construction comes after Mr Khan said shortly after taking office last year that abandoning the project would cost more than finishing it.