Labour Councillors have asked for Westminster Council’s decision to dispose of open public space around Temple tube station to the Garden Bridge Trust to be ‘called in’. In order for the ‘call in’ request to succeed a Conservative Councillor needs to join Labour to request a ‘call in’.
According to the Thames Central Open Spaces campaign:
“It would cost the public at least £500,000 after legal fees, indemnity costs and premiums paid to London Underground Limited, for the GBT to acquire this desperately needed crucial land from Westminster City Council to build the bridge. The money to do this would be from the £60m public funding granted to the GBT by the Department of Transport and Transport for London.
So public money is being used to facilitate private developers i.e. Garden Bridge Trust, to acquire public land which we would lose all rights to – where’s the sense in that?
Questions also need to be asked about why Westminster council is allowing public money to be spent on a project that is not deliverable* and is currently undergoing a review by Dame Margaret Hodge for London mayor Sadiq Khan and is also in question by the chair of the Public Accounts Committee.
The GBT are burning up to £500k a month and are going nowhere. They don’t have implementable planning permissions: they don’t have land rights; they are between £55m-£70m short of cash; they don’t have a Port of London Authority licence or a public guarantee from Sadiq Khan”
Councillor Adam Hug, Leader of the Labour Group, said:
“Given that this entire scheme is currently under review by Dame Margaret Hodge and the Mayor of London, Westminster Council needs to be extremely cautious about its approach to this controversial scheme. It certainly should not be taking action that facilitates progress on the scheme without full local scrutiny of that decision. Therefore I ask that this proposal be called in for further discussion and assessment before any decision is taken. “