Despite being hailed as the most expensive footbridge in the world, Thomas Heatherwick’s proposed £175 million Garden Bridge has gained approval from the Westminster Council.
The 367-metre pedestrian bridge, which was conceived by actress Joanna Lumley, is set to span the River Thames between the South Bank and Temple Station. It will feature five linking gardens and two fluted piers supporting a promenade planted with trees.
Most Expensive of Its Kind
The rumors are true. BBC journalist Tom Edwards reported earlier today that the Garden Bridge would be the “most expensive crossing of its kind, partially due to the materials being used in its cladding”. He said in a tweet that the £175 million project would use copper for cladding.
One More Green Light
The project has received positive feedback since its presentation to the councils. It has gained approval from the Westminster Council during a meeting attended by more than 120 people in at City Hall this evening. Lambeth Council has approved the scheme in November. The next step would be to gain approval from London Mayor Boris Johnson.
What’s Good about the Garden Bridge
According to Westminster Council’s planning officers, the scheme should be passed because of the “iconic design, new viewpoints it will create and the proposed high-quality landscaped open space”. The bridge will feature magnificent landscapes and will allow pedestrians to see famous attractions like the Royal Festival Hall and the South Bank Centre more clearly. It is said that the southern part of the bridge could draw 7 million visitors a year. This signals significant growth to London’s booming tourism industry.
According to British architecture news site BDonline, the bridge would cost £3.5 million a year to operate and maintain. The Garden Bridge Trust, a charitable institution in charge of the project, will take care of the funding, management and maintenance.
Based on recommendations given by Westminster’s planning officers, the local authority’s planning panel approved the scheme “subject to appropriate measures to secure the long term funding and maintenance of the bridge”. As part of the conditions of approval, the Garden Bridge Trusts should raise additional funds to build the structure and secure Transport for London as a guarantor on maintenance fees.
The Trust has already acquired more than £90 million from the Government and other donors. Under the supervision of Heatherwick Studio, engineers Arup, and landscape designer Dan Pearson, construction could start in the second half of next year. The Garden Bridge is expected to open in 2018.