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Garden Bridge D-Day set for 11th November

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.

Comments

DUPLICATE EMAIL (as I am not too sure where I should send this...

Hello - today, I read with interest a news item about Michael Ball making a legal challenge in the High Court against plans for the Thames Garden Bridge. This has prompted me to write and I trust this email reaches the right department.

Last July, when Joanna Lumley and Alan Yentob used The Culture Show to promote this unnecessary and fanciful project, I was incredibly concerned and immediately wrote to them. I also wrote to Thomas Heatherwick and Boris Johnson, receiving replies from the latter two. More recently, on Desert Island Discs, Dan Pearson mentioned he was the horticulture consultant for the Garden Bridge and I have written to him too. Now, with relief, I saw the news item about your opposition and the action being taken.

I no longer live in London which is why I had a problem following the story closely, but I feel passionately about the absurdity of such a structure spanning the Thames. The proposal is a whim, a waste of creative time and something that could detract not enhance this amazing waterway. My main concern is about blocking the historic view and I have noted with interest that the illustrations produced are cleverly angled to reduce this. To me, Blackfriars railway bridge is a case to refer to... the addition of the station with its serrated roof produces a noticeable, visual block.

Also, how incongruous is the image of trees and foliage across a river? This will visually clog the watery expanse with absurd and misplaced froth. I have known and loved the Thames for a long time... as an art student in the 1950's I frequently wandered its warehoused banks. The area by the Festival Hall was derelict and tall cranes punctuated the skyline of the docks. Since then I have watched the river change from an industrial, working environment to the elegant asset it is today. I love the new when it is relevant, like the graceful Millennium Bridge and if the new bridge was similar to this I would not be concerned. One of the reasons given by Lumley for the Garden Bridge was to give people a car free experience from the Temple to the Southbank and along to St. Paul's. As far as I am concerned Charing Cross footbridge already does this!

I wish you well with the challenge and if there anything, however small, I can do to help thwart this inappropriate addition please let me know... London is a stunning city with lots of appropriate green space and all of us should try to stop this absurd and unnecessary plan?

Best wishes - Aude Watson

I think the garden bridge would be an expensive disaster - I already avoid that part of the South Bank as one cant pass through especially with a buggy due to pressure of tourists now. If we want to add a little magic to the river at night for a fraction of the cost why cant we light up Vauxhall Bridge with their beautiful statues which skulk in the dark. Is anyone else interested in this as I would be happy to join others in a campaign. Used to be lit as the old fittings are still rusting there.
chris@chriskaday.co.uk

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