Boris's £60m 'garden bridge' will have no public right of way, no protests and no cycling

Tony Gosling tony at
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 London’s 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 London’s 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 won’t 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 Mayor’s 
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 Mayor’s 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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