The Garden Bridge project in London has announced it is “winding up” due to lack of funds.
Organisers said in a statement that they had “no choice” but to kill off the initiative because of London mayor Sadiq Khan’s “lack of support”.
The bridge, which was forecast to cost up to £200m, was backed by former mayor Boris Johnson in 2013, but had its future thrown into doubt by a review that recommended it was safer to scrap the scheme than risk uncertain costs.
Despite trying to find a benefactor to finance the project privately, Garden Bridge executives announced on Monday they “cannot proceed with what was always designed to be a public project… without the support of the Mayor of London”.
Image: Sadiq Khan refused to guarantee more public money for the scheme
Chairman of the trust Lord Mervyn Davies said the decision marked a “sad day for London” and sent a “message to the world that we can no longer deliver such exciting projects”.
But Mr Khan retorted that the project’s “systemic failures” did not warrant “a single penny more of London taxpayers’ money being spent on it”.
He said: “I have been clear since before I became mayor that no more London taxpayers’ money should be spent on this project and when I took office I gave the Garden Bridge Trust time to try and address the multiple serious issues with it.
“Londoners will, like me, be very angry that London taxpayers have now lost tens of millions of pounds – committed by the previous mayor on a project that has amounted to nothing.”
Image: Former mayor Boris Johnson backed the scheme
The spiralling cost of the project plagued its development.
More than £37m of public money has already been spent on it, and a damning review by Dame Margaret Hodge published in April concluded it was “difficult to justify further public investment”.
She predicted the bridge could ultimately cost £200m and declared: “Value for money for the taxpayer has not been secured.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson told Sky News: “This decision from the Garden Bridge Trust is disappointing. We provided limited funding to encourage private investment into the project, and we minimised the taxpayer’s exposure to its cancellation.”