London

Garden Bridge Trust says Hodge review is 'full of errors'

Image of people walking across the planned bridge Image copyright Arup
Image caption Dame Margaret Hodge's review said the Garden Bridge's costs were spiralling out of control

The trust behind a project to build a bridge across the Thames in London has criticised a report that suggested the scheme should be scrapped.

The Garden Bridge Trust said Dame Margaret Hodge's review had ignored information.

Lord Davies, chairman of trust, said: "It is a very one-sided report and full of errors."

Dame Margaret said she did not expect the trust to support her conclusions, which were "grounded in evidence".

The trust alleges the review ignored a survey that suggested three-quarters of Londoners supported the bridge and that Dame Margaret had engaged with a "very selective - largely opponent - audience".

Lord Davies said he remained focused on the bridge's future, which was in the hands of the London mayor Sadiq Khan.

"Our message to him is that this report, with its many errors and ill-informed opinions, is no basis upon which to take decisions about a project that has been through the complex democratic processes by which decisions on development are made in this city," he said.

Image copyright Heatherwick Studio
Image caption The tree-covered Garden Bridge would span the Thames between Temple and the South Bank

Dame Margaret, MP for Barking and Dagenham, said: "I conducted an extensive inquiry and the conclusions I reached are grounded in that evidence.

"My review has found that too many things went wrong in the development and implementation of the Garden Bridge project."

She added: "Value for money for the taxpayer has not been secured."

The review, which was published on 7 April, said £37.4m had already been spent, and even if the bridge did not go ahead it would cost the taxpayer £46.4m.

The trust also lost two major private donors and had had no new pledges since August 2016, the review said.

However, Lord Davies argued the trust had put fundraising on hold because of the review and it was confident it could raise the money from donors.

Previously, a City Hall spokesman said the Garden Bridge Trust remained responsible for delivering the project and the mayor of London would not spend any more taxpayer money on the Garden Bridge.

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