Thames Garden Bridge secures mayoral approval

London's deputy mayor for planning has approved plans for the controversial Thames 'Garden Bridge' after concluding that concerns over pedestrian access had been addressed and despite recognising that the scheme would 'impact on strategic views and heritage assets'.

Garden Bridge: scheme would link Temple with South Bank (pic Garden Bridge Trust)
Garden Bridge: scheme would link Temple with South Bank (pic Garden Bridge Trust)

The Garden Bridge would connect Temple on the north bank to the South Bank close to the Southbank Centre arts venue.

The full application, submitted by the Garden Bridge Trust, was approved by deputy mayor for planning Sir Edward Lister rather than the mayor, as Johnson had previously expressed support for the scheme.

A planning report considered by Lister said concerns had been raised by bodies including the City of London Corporation, which said the plan would "result in significant adverse impacts on St Paul’s Cathedral and the City".

There were also concerns about increased pedestrian flows and possible charges to access the bridge.

But the report said free public access had been "secured by conditions", although the bridge would be shut to the public for twelve days a year.

"These closures would be necessary to hold fundraising events, which will assist the long-term viability of the project", the report said.

The report also said that groups of eight of more visitors would have to contact the Garden Bridge Trust to "request a formal visit".

The report concluded that the bridge would be "an iconic addition to the London skyline and will contribute to its World City role".

"It does have an impact on strategic views and heritage assets, but provides a number of public benefits. The views from the bridge will also provide a unique opportunity for enhancing or better revealing the significance of various heritage assets. The concerns regarding pedestrian congestion, accessibility and transport have been satisfactorily addressed".

If the application is not called in by the secretary of state, the Garden Bridge Trust hopes work on the bridge could start in 2015.

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