Sadiq Khan, the new London Mayor, has lost no time in starting to investigate his predecessor Boris Johnson’s conduct over the procurement of the Thames Garden Bridge http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/14/sadiq-khan-thames-garden-bridge-boris-johnson-mayor-london. The ‘pipedream’ landscaped pedestrian bridge is intended to link Temple on the north of the Thames with the South Bank.
Khan is reportedly unlikely to sign off on a guarantee (that the GLA will act as guarantor of the bridge’s future upkeep in the event that the Garden Bridge Trust is unable to provide the funds) until the procurement process has been investigated further. The suggestion is that the process to select a designer was unfair because Johnson and his team met with the eventual winner of the competition on five occasions and Johnson expressed himself ‘keen’ to see their design selected – all before the competition started. My understanding of the law on this is that if the competition was unfair then the other competitors will have to be reimbursed the costs of preparing their entries. This would be another financial ‘hit’ to the public purse on account of a project which was supposed to be privately funded.
Hopefully Sadiq Khan, who has previously described the scheme as ‘another one of Boris Johnson’s white elephant projects’, will go on to make good on his pledge to scrap the project completely.
My objection to the Thames Garden Bridge is that it will be an eyesore which will block an important open vista along the Thames. The viewpoints of the clever computer graphics produced to illustrate the design have been selected to hide this fact. The claims that it will ‘transform London’s landscape’ and add ‘greenery’ are spurious. Instead it will destroy an important view of the river. It will be a big incongruous lump that no amount of architectural form making or attention to detail will disguise.
Architects and engineers love to build things but sometimes it is better to leave well alone.