Proposals for a ‘Garden Bridge’ between the South Bank and the Temple are recommended for approval next week by Lambeth Council, despite nearly 1,000 local people signing a petition against the plans.
Going, going, gone: the existing grass and trees which would be destroyed by the retail building of the Garden Bridge; an image from the Garden Bridge Trust of the retail building and entrance to the bridge; and how it would look on a summer afternoon with the predicted 70% increase in pedestrians
The proposals have met a chorus of disapproval at several well-attended public meetings in Waterloo over the summer, including concerns about
The impact of 7 million visitors on the South Bank, including 3.5m new tourists, up 70% on current numbers at peak times
The impact on views across the river, and protected views of St Paul’s and the City from Waterloo Bridge and along the South Bank
The development of an unnecessarily large commercial building on the riverwalk
The lack of toilets for 7 million visitors
The amount of public subsidy (£64m) and the lack of certainty around the £3m annual bill for maintenance, management and clean-up of the South Bank
Contrary to good practise there was no local consultation with residents prior to the application, but WCDG have been working with the Garden Bridge Trust to maximise consultation since then. In July we sent a letter to the Trust listing 25 key questions, and ran a public meeting with their support in August, attended by over 100 people. Unfortuntately we did not receive a response to our questions until late October. We had hoped to do a final electronic survey of residents, but due to the delays from the Trust we have run out of time, and have had to lodge a strong objection based upon the overwhelming hostility expressed at three WCDG public meetings.
Objections and concerns have also been raised by London Assembly member Val Shawcross, as well as by Cllr Kevin Craig (Bishops ward councillor), Rowan Moore (architecture critic of the Observer), the City of London, South Bank Employer’s Group, ITV, IBM, and 66 letters of objection from local residents.
Some residents have formed a group to oppose the Bridge and similar proposals, and have gathered nearly 500 signatures from local residents. You can contact Thames Central Open Spaces at www.tcos.org.uk and sign their petition at http://tinyurl.com/oxko6pn. And there's still time to send your comments to Lambeth at DSmith1@lambeth.gov.uk
Lambeth Council’s Planning Committee meets on Tuesday 11th November at 7pm at the Town Hall in Brixton. It’s open to the public – come along and join us in hearing about the future of your neighbourhood.