Planning permission is due to expire this year and many outstanding issues remain, including spiralling construction costs and doubts around funding the maintenance of the bridge, said mayor Sadiq Khan.
“Having assessed all the information available to me including the findings of Dame Margaret Hodge’s independent review, my view is that providing mayoral guarantees will expose the London taxpayer to too much additional financial risk,” he said.
“With planning permission due to expire this year, many outstanding issues remain, including spiralling construction costs and doubts around funding the maintenance of the bridge. The funding gap is now at over £70million and it appears unlikely that the Trust will succeed in raising the private funds required for the project. I am simply not prepared to risk a situation where the taxpayer has to step in and contribute significant additional amounts to ensure the project is completed."
The signing of operation and maintenance guarantees is a requirement of the Port of London Authority and is a condition of the planning approvals from the London Borough of Lambeth and Westminster City Council. Guarantees must be in place before construction can commence. It is open to the Garden Bridge Trust to seek to amend the PLA's requirement and the planning conditions from the local authorities.
In a letter to Lord Mervyn Davies, chair of the Garden Bridge Trust, Mr Khan outlined his view that the continuation of the project will expose the London taxpayer to additional financial risk, both with regard to the bridge’s construction and its operation and maintenance.