MD1248 Temple to South Bank Footbridge Development Proposals

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
27 August 2013
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

It has been agreed by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Transport for London (TfL) that TfL will undertake activities to develop and help enable a proposed footbridge (the Garden Bridge) connecting Temple and South Bank.

The approvals below are sought to enable TfL to do so.



1.    Delegates to TfL the exercise of the Mayor’s powers under sections 30 and 34 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (“the GLA Act”) to further the promotion of social development and the environment in Greater London and to do such things calculated to facilitate, or is conducive to, that purpose by undertaking activities to develop and help enable the footbridge project; and 

2.    Directs TfL to use the powers as noted above and to make budgetary provision in that regard.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    A new footbridge has been proposed in central London connecting Temple with the South Bank, including a new garden amenity space located on the bridge.

1.2    The Mayor is keen to support this proposal on the basis that TfL would take the role of “enabler”, securing the necessary powers and consents, helping to secure the funding for construction and future maintenance from third parties, helping to establish an appropriate structure for its delivery and, potentially, providing project management expertise during construction.  There is no intention that TfL takes ownership of the structure, or responsibility for its ongoing operation and maintenance.

1.3    It is proposed that TfL undertake activities, including but not limited to the following, to promote the project:

•    Contributing to the cost of developing the project to the point where third party funding has been identified and secured, with a view to seeking recovery of these costs in due course.
•    Establishing a clear policy statement of need for a crossing of the Thames in this area which defines specific objectives and outcomes for the project and receives buy in from the relevant local authorities.
•    Developing strategies for the following matters: procurement of the design; land and consents; funding and sponsorship and procurement for delivery and construction.
•    Offering technical assistance and advice.
•    Advising on and assisting with the formation of a suitable entity which would secure and manage the necessary funds (for example, a new charity).

1.4    It is intended that these initial development costs will be accommodated from within TfL’s existing budget, but that TfL will seek to recover these costs if possible in due course.

1.5    TfL has a range of statutory functions and powers, set out in the GLA Act, which relate to “transport facilities and services” and in relation to TfL’s status as a highway authority. It is, however, not completely clear that developing this footbridge is entirely within those powers because the concept of creating a new garden on the bridge as a public amenity and visitor attraction goes beyond the transport functionality of a new bridge. 

1.6    It is therefore appropriate for the Mayor to delegate his powers under sections 30 and 34 of the GLA Act to TfL and to direct TfL as to the exercise of its powers (including the powers delegated to it) which will allow TfL to make budgetary provision for, and carry on, the activities included in the delegation.  


Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The strategic objective is: 

“to provide an iconic new pedestrian garden bridge across the River Thames, linking Temple Underground station to the South Bank, with construction and maintenance funded by third parties.” 2.2    A number of other objectives have been identified as follows:

•    To improve the walking links between Temple station and the South Bank, and between Waterloo station and the Temple/Fleet Street area;
•    To provide a new garden and amenity space over the River Thames, accessible to the general public;
•    To encourage greater interaction between the visitor economy on either side of the Thames in this area;
•    To encourage new visitor trips to this part of central London.

2.3    It is clear that the project objectives go much wider than transport benefits, however the Mayor has asked Transport for London to take a lead on the project on behalf of the GLA group, on the basis that TfL is best placed to provide the planning, engineering, environmental and legal skills necessary for this project.

2.4    This section outlines at a high level the outcomes and benefits against which the project’s success will be assessed. They are divided according to the five overall TfL goals against which the project has benefits. 



Support economic development and population growth


The bridge will improve links to and from the South Bank creative quarter (within two London Plan Opportunity Areas) and better connect it to other parts of central London. The creative industries are a major net contributor to the UK economy.


In addition the bridge is intended to become a tourist attraction for London, aiding the visitor economy which is a major source of income and employment for London.

Enhance the quality of life for all Londoners


The bridge will provide a new garden in the heart of London, and provide a new cross-Thames route offering greatly improved ambience to pedestrians re-routing form existing road bridges.


In encouraging walking, the bridge will improve the health of people switching from other forms of transport (buses, taxis) to walking for all or part of their journeys.

Improve the safety and security of all Londoners


The bridge will provide a new traffic-free route, and promote the use of existing traffic-free routes (such as the Thames Path) to access the new bridge, in preference to existing on-street routes.

Improve transport opportunities for all Londoners

The new bridge will improve links between the more deprived communities south of the Thames with the heart of central London.


In addition it will provide a new step-free river crossing from the South Bank (step-free routes to the road bridges in this area are circuitous).

Reduce transport’s contribution to climate change and improve its resilience

The new bridge will encourage walking activity, by providing an attractive new walking route as an alternative to the existing road bridges on either side.






Other considerations

Links to strategies and Mayoral and corporate priorities

4.1    The proposed footbridge furthers Proposal 60 of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS) by improving the walking experience, enhancing the urban realm and ensuring safe, comfortable and attractive walking conditions. 

4.2    The proposed footbridge will contribute towards the Mayoral objectives and policies set out in the London Plan. Policy 2.10 of the London Plan states that the Mayor will improve infrastructure for walking within the Central Activities Zone. The proposed footbridge would provide additional capacity for pedestrians and encourage walking by ensuring an improved public realm, which is supported by Policy 6.1 of the London Plan.  The cultural, environmental and urban realm benefits of the proposed bridge are supported by Policies 2.18 (Green Infrastructure), 4.6 (Support for Arts, Culture, Sport and Entertainment Provision), and 7.18 (Protecting Local Open Space).

Impact assessments and Consultation

4.3    Under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as public authorities, the Mayor and TfL must have ‘due regard’ to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. In addition, the Mayor has a duty to have due regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people (see paragraph 6.2(a) below).

4.4    The footbridge will be accessible to pedestrians with restricted mobility, including ramps and/or lifts to allow access at each end for pedestrians in wheelchairs, with pushchairs, and with difficulty using steps. Currently the adjacent bridges (Waterloo and Blackfriars) are not directly accessible from the South Bank without the use of steps or a lengthy diversion to the nearest step-free route. As well as providing a step-free route across the river for pedestrians, the bridge will provide a new garden in the centre of London, a new amenity space for both residents and visitors, and will better link the communities on the South Bank with the rest of central London. There will be no charge to access the bridge, allowing its enjoyment by all Londoners. 

4.5    The GLA have consulted with TfL in accordance with the statutory requirement set out at section 6.2(c) below.     


4.6    As TfL will be contracting (and financing the procurement of) the supplies and services required there is no risk to the GLA.   

4.7    There is a risk that suitable third party funding for the construction, maintenance and operations of the bridge will not be secured. In the event of this happening, the project will not proceed.

4.8    In addition, there is a risk that TfL’s initial development costs will not be recovered. 

4.9    TfL will adopt sound project management techniques in carrying out the project and will develop a risk management strategy to mitigate against these known risks.


Financial comments

5.1    TfL will contribute to funding the initial development of the proposal, and, potentially, provide project management expertise during the construction phase, and will seek to recover the initial development costs of the proposal.

5.2    Any failure by TfL to recover its costs would impact upon savings required to be delivered through the Mayor’s annual budgeting process and may have a knock-on effect on the GLA or other members of the group.


Investment and Performance Board

7.1    This matter relates to expenditure by TfL and there is not an available IPB meeting before contracts of these activities need to be placed.  It has not, therefore, been considered by IPB.


Planned delivery approach and next steps

8.1    It is intended that a new charitable entity will be established, which will be responsible for leading the delivery of the new bridge, should it raise sufficient funding to allow the project to proceed. TfL may be asked to provide assistance during those phases of work, but the delivery will ultimately be the responsibility of the charitable entity. 


Appendices and supporting papers

Appendix: Mayoral Delegation and Direction to TfL.

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