Independent review of the Garden Bridge project

In October 2016 the Mayor formally appointed Dame Margaret Hodge MP to lead an independent review of the Garden Bridge project. Dame Margaret submitted her report to the Mayor in April 2017 and the GLA has now published it.


Why did the Mayor commission this independent review?

In his first week as Mayor, Sadiq promised to look into the decisions made around contributions from the public sector to this project. He published the full business plan for the Garden Bridge project, as well as a list of its funders. He then asked Dame Margaret to carry out an independent review to:

  • look in detail at whether value for money has been achieved from taxpayers’ contributions
  • investigate the work of TfL, the GLA and other relevant authorities on the Garden Bridge, going back to when it was first proposed.

At the time, Sadiq said:

I’m clear that since the beginning of the project there hasn’t been the necessary standard of transparency and openness around the Garden Bridge. Nearly £40m of public money has already been spent on the Garden Bridge project, and Londoners deserve far more information about the decisions that have been made around how their money is being spent.

The full terms of reference are set out in Dame Margaret’s report.

What is the Garden Bridge and how is it funded?

The Garden Bridge is a proposed footbridge and public garden over the River Thames, linking Temple with the South Bank. The project is being led by the Garden Bridge Trust. Government has pledged £60m towards the bridge’s cost. £30m is from Transport for London and £30m from central Government. £20m of the money pledged by TfL is in the form of a loan to be repaid in full.

Sadiq has made his view clear that no new London taxpayers’ funds should be committed to the Garden Bridge. He has also demanded that the Bridge is a genuinely public and open space for all Londoners, with strict limits on how often the Bridge is closed for private events.

More about Dame Margaret Hodge MP

Dame Margaret has been Member of Parliament for Barking since 1994. She served as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee between 2010 and 2015, scrutinising all areas of government spending, and holding Government and civil servants to account.

In conducting her independent review of the Garden Bridge project, Dame Margaret held meetings with officials and stakeholders and received input from others with an interest, including members of the public. She also studied a wealth of papers and correspondence associated with the project. 

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