The fate of London’s Garden Bridge is in jeopardy after the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced he has launched a review into the project’s funding and lack of transparency.
Dame Margaret Hodge, the former chair of the influential public accounts committee in Westminster, will head the review and will assess whether taxpayers’ contribution to the project is “value for money”. She will produce a report to the London mayor in the near future.
The review, which will cost £25,000, will also question the procurement process of the project and investigate the conduct of Transport for London (TfL) and other relevant authorities from first proposal to date. It will also ask whether there are "any lessons that should be learnt" in order to improve the conduct of future projects in the capital.
The London mayor said the project has lacked transparency and openness since the beginning, adding that the public should have access to information regarding how £40 million of public money has already been spent on the bridge.
Ms Hodge added: “I’m delighted to accept Sadiq’s offer to look in detail at some of the key decisions made so far around the Garden Bridge. It’s not a project that I have previously had an opinion on either for or against, but given the millions of pounds of public money allocated to the project, it is clear that there needs to be far more transparency around how funds are being spent.
“The planned bridge is a major project in an iconic part of London, and there is clearly questions that remain unanswered around issues like procurement.”
Tom Copley, a London assembly member, welcomed the Garden Bridge review and added the project had been “dogged by scandal” and “a lack of transparency since its inception”.
Mr Copley added: “This is a marked contrast with his predecessor, who did nothing to clear up the murkiness surrounding it. The London Assembly found major issues with the lack of openness and transparency in the procurement process.
“Large sums of taxpayer’s money have been committed to this project, and so it’s vital that the public have confidence that their cash is being used properly, not being fritted away frivolously by Boris Johnson vanity project.”Reuse content