London’s proposed Garden Bridge, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, faces uncertainty after a High Court judge ordered a judicial review.
The 367-metre-long bridge, featuring some 270 trees along with shrubs and climbing plants, received planning permission in December 2014. But Michael Ball, a Lambeth resident and director of the Waterloo Community Development Group, launched a legal challenge in January this year.
He argued Lambeth Council had failed to consider the bridge’s effect on surrounding buildings and public spending when it gave planning permission to the £175 million project.
An earlier court judgement in March dismissed Ball’s claims on the basis of guarantees from mayor Boris Johnson around the cost. But Mr Justice Ouseley has now ruled that Lambeth Council may have overlooked these funding issues when granting planning permission.
A judicial review threatens the project’s future with the Garden Bridge Trust, the charity responsible for financing, previously saying construction must be completed by 2018. Should it be delayed, the project would obstruct work on the Thames Tideway Tunnel, an upgrade to the capital’s sewers.
A Garden Bridge spokesperson says: ‘We are working closely with the London Borough of Lambeth to discuss the next steps following the decision, and continue to work with stakeholders and local communities with the intention to begin on site early next year.’