London – Doubtful project development procedures

On the 7th April 2017 the Independent newspaper reported on what it described as Dame Margaret Hodge’s “damning” independent review of the London Garden Bridge project. This project, as London’s official website says: “….is a proposed footbridge and public garden over the River Thames, linking Temple with the South Bank. The project is being led by the Garden Bridge Trust”.
Dame Hodge’s report (which can be downloaded from this link) draws a number of severe conclusions about the control of the project, including:

On value for money
“Decisions on the Garden Bridge were driven by electoral cycles rather than value for money. From its inception when there was confusion as to its purpose, through a weak business case that was constructed after contracts had been let and money had been spent, little regard has been had to value for money”.

On escalating costs
“The project has already used £37.4 million of public money and the agreement to underwrite cancellation costs by the Government could bring the bill to the taxpayer up to £46.4 million. I believe it is better for the taxpayer to accept the loss than to risk the additional demands if the project proceeds”.

On conduct and procedure of Transport for London and the Greater London Authority
“The procurements subject to this review comprised one contract that was awarded to Heatherwick Studio for design and consulting services and one contract that was awarded to Arup for engineering and project management services. These were not open, fair or
competitive procurements and my review revealed systemic failures and ineffective control systems at many levels”.
(In the above quotes, I have highlighted parts of the texts)

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About roadnotes

Robert Bartlett is an international consultant with over 30 years of professional experience as a highway and traffic engineer with leading companies and organisations in several countries, including Germany, China (Hong Kong), Qatar and the UK. Specialised in urban studies, transport and the use of GIS, research has included new ideas on subjects such as the study of social justice using GIS, the dimensions of vehicles, and comparative geometrics (highways and transport).
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