Garden Bridge

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For the bridge in China, see Waibaidu Bridge.
Garden Bridge
Garden Bridge - London - Arup Image.jpg
Computer rendering of the planned bridge, created by engineers Arup
Coordinates 51°30′35″N 0°06′48″W / 51.509631°N 0.113409°W / 51.509631; -0.113409Coordinates: 51°30′35″N 0°06′48″W / 51.509631°N 0.113409°W / 51.509631; -0.113409
Carries Pedestrians
Crosses River Thames
Preceded by Waterloo Bridge
Followed by Blackfriars Bridge
Total length 367 metres (1,204 ft)
Width 30 metres (98 ft)
Designer Thomas Heatherwick
Engineering design by Arup
Construction cost £175 million (sources vary)
Opened Planned 2018

Garden Bridge is a proposed pedestrian bridge over the River Thames in London, England. Conceived by the actress Joanna Lumley in 1998[1] and designed by Thomas Heatherwick, working with Arup,[2] on a commission from Transport for London, it is planned to feature trees and gardens.[3][4]


The Garden Bridge Trust was launched on 1 November 2013 to oversee the project; it is proposed to be located at the National Theatre (overlooking the planned site).[1][5] Lord Davies of Abersoch is the trust's chairman,[5] and horticulturalist Dan Pearson has been engaged to arrange the planting.[5]


The bridge is planned to be 367 metres (1,204 ft) long[6] and 30 metres (98 ft) across at its widest point, and it would run from the roof of Temple station as a continuation of Arundel Street[3] on the north bank to Queen's Walk by the London Studios where a large public green open space would be redeveloped to provide a commercial building associated with the project. The bridge would feature trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, although it would also require the felling of mature trees on both sides of the river.

Finance and Planning[edit]

As of July 2014, the cost of the bridge has risen to £175 million, from the original estimate of £60m.[7] When first promoted, it was claimed that the project would be financed entirely from private sources, although a total of £60m towards the capital cost has now been committed from public funds,[7] with £30m pledged by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and £30m pledged by HM Treasury. The full planning application for the project was submitted on 30 May 2014, and it is intended, subject to receiving planning permission and raising the necessary funds, the bridge will be completed by 2018.[8][9] The planning application was approved by Lambeth Council (local authority on South side of the bridge) in November 2014.[10] Westminster City Council passed a plan for the bridge on 2 December 2014 by a vote of three to one.[11] In December 2014 Boris Johnson approved the scheme to build the bridge, with construction expected to start in 2015.[12] During the design and construction stage of the proejct, Arup and Thomas Heatherwick will use Building Information Modeling .[13]


Various criticisms of the project have been raised. In November 2014, it was claimed that the bridge would not be able to be used by groups of 8 people or more; cyclists; or accessed between midnight and 6am.[14] However, the trust raising money to build the bridge has since stated that groups of 8 or more are not banned and cyclists will be allowed to use the bridge, although will be asked to dismount.[15] Despite originally being a privately funded project, a total of £60m of the estimated £175m cost will be paid for by the government, and the City of Westminster has made their planning permission conditional upon Transport for London also underwriting the maintenance costs, estimated at £3.5m a year, in perpetuity. In June 2013, the Commissioner of Transport for London, Sir Peter Hendy stated that the public would meet no more than the “enabling costs” of the project of £4m.[16] The Trust also plans to close the bridge for 12 days a year for events, and rent out the rooftop of the bridge’s landing podium every weekend between May and October.[17] Westminster Council raised concerns that the bridge will cause “significant harm” to a number of protected views from Waterloo Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, and the South Bank, but stated that the new views from the garden bridge would outweigh the damage caused.[17]

The bridge is seen as unnecessary for the South Bank area by some, since there are nine bridges spanning the two miles (3.2 km) between Westminster Bridge and London Bridge, seven of which can be crossed by foot. Projections of visitor numbers suggest that the bridge would add another 3.5 million visitors a year, an 18% increase on 2014 numbers.[18] Critics of the project are now campaigning to have it brought under judicial review or another appeal process through the secretary of state.[19]

In January 2015, a legal challenge of Lambeth's planning permission was brought by Michael Ball, director of the Waterloo Community Development Group. On 21 April 2015 permission was granted by The Hon. Mr Justice Ouseley for a full judicial review of the project.[20]


  1. ^ a b "The hanging garden of London: funding drive begins for UK’s first 'floating paradise' bridge — Home News — UK — The Independent". The Independent. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Thomas Heatherwick Designs Garden Bridge Over The Thames". Architizer. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "The Unstoppable Thomas Heatherwick". The Culture Show. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  4. ^ O'Ceallaigh, John (14 June 2013). "A 'Garden Bridge' across the Thames — Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Views sought on River Thames garden bridge". BBC News. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Garden Bridge by Heatherwick Studio". I Like Architecture. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ Wainwright, Oliver (24 June 2014). "London's Garden bridge: 'It feels like we're trying to pull off a crime'". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "14/02792/FUL". Lambeth Council. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "BBC News — London's River Thames garden bridge backed by council". BBC News. 
  11. ^ "Garden Bridge over River Thames set to go ahead after planning permission granted by Westminster Council". The Evening Standard. 
  12. ^ "Mayor Boris Johnson approves River Thames garden bridge". BBC News. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "London Calling: Der Einsatz von BIM bei Großprojekten in London" (in German). BIM Blog. Retrieved 2 September 2015. 
  14. ^ "London's garden bridge: the public park where groups and cyclists aren't welcome". The Guardian. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Rowan Moore. "London’s Garden bridge: barking up the wrong tree?". the Guardian. 
  17. ^ a b Oliver Wainwright. "Thames 'private' garden bridge could cost £3.5m a year in public money". the Guardian. 
  18. ^ "The Garden Bridge is not London's answer to the New York High Line". 
  19. ^ Oliver Wainwright, Thames 'private' garden bridge could cost £3.5m a year in public money, The Guardian, 3 December 2014.
  20. ^

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