Boris's £60m 'garden bridge' will have no public right of way, no protests and no cycling
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sat Nov 22 12:43:21 GMT 2014
Boris's £60m 'garden bridge' will have no public
right of way, no protests and no cycling
The bridge is to close to Londoners late at night
once tourist demand has subsided
Jon Stone - Thursday, 20 November 2014
The Mayor of Londons planned £60m
bridge over the River Thames in London will have
no legal public right of way, it has been announced.
The bridge, likely to be a popular tourist
attraction, will be privately managed by a trust
and large groups will be asked to call ahead
before visiting due to its limited capacity.
Protests and cycling will be banned on the new
bridge, which will be closed at midnight when
views over the Thames are at their most dramatic
and the tourist crowds have dispersed.
The bridge's owner is also exploring the
possibility of holding "a limited number" of
private events on it, when it could be closed to the public.
£30m of the money for the attraction is coming
out of Londons squeezed transport budget,
for London announcing yet another increase in
fares set to come into force next year.
Central government is contributing another £30m
for the bridge, which has high-profile celebrity
backers including actress Joanna Lumley.
pictures: Boris Johnson's most defining moments
Lambeth Council's planning report on the bridge
says groups of eight or more would have to
formally apply in advance to visit the bridge
because they could constitute a "protest risk".
Campaigners are angry at the way the project has
been handled, arguing that the privatisation of
public space in the capital has gone too far and
that resulting bridge wont meet Londoners needs
for a new pedestrian river crossing.
I was really shocked to discover that this
bridge is receiving £60m from the joint transport
budgets of the Mayor and the national government,
but the public have no guaranteed right of way,"
Green Party member of the London Assembly Darren Johnson said.
"Central London is a 24 hour city, but under the
current proposals there is effectively no bridge
for at least a quarter of the day. Given the
scale of public funding for this bridge I would
have expected the Mayor to have pinned down
guarantees that Londoners will be able to use
this bridge to cross the river 24/7 in ten or twenty years time.
The AM likened the bridge to the Mayors
docklands cable car project, which is officially
known as the Emirates Airline after the gulf
state airline brought the rights to the name.
The cable car was meant to help commuters get
across the river, but got turned into a tourist
attraction by the Mayor. This looks increasingly
like another of the Mayors high profile, tourism
projects funded from tube and bus fares, he added.
When questioned in the bridge at the London
Assembly earlier this year Boris Johnson said the
project had an extremely positive business case.
[It] will directly support policies in my
Transport Strategy for making London a more
walkable and liveable city and support the
economic development of London, he said.
Mr Johnson said that the bridge's opening hours
were set to coincide with the peak demand period
for visitors to the South Bank: "Many parks and
gardens in London close when it is dark and the
intention with the Garden Bridge is to keep it
open to coincide with the greatest demand for use."
The Garden Bridge Trust however said the decision
to close the bridge overnight was "in no way related to demand from tourists".
"The Bridge is for Londoners and visitors to
London alike," the Trust said in a statement.
"Therefore, the timing structure has been put in
place to mitigate concerns about noise carrying
to residential areas, and is a condition of the planning application."
On the subject of ticketing, the Trust added:
"The Garden Bridge Trust has no intention to
introduce ticketing for the Bridge. It will be free and open for all."
It acknowledged that the bridge could be closed
due to private functions, however.
"The Trust is exploring the possibility of
holding a limited number of private events on the
bridge each year. Every effort would be made to
ensure the bridge remains open to the general
public during these events, but there may be
occasions where the bridge is closed."
The bridge is planned to run from Temple Station
on the north side of the Thames to the Southbank Centre.
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