to be really upset about the Garden Bridge?

(63 Posts)
butterfly133 Sat 23-May-15 10:30:03

I know there's been increased publicity about the problems of the Garden Bridge and it's up for review soon. But what I find it interesting is that, although I totally agree with the finances - why pay for this in a time of austerity - some of the articles explaining the problems don't even explain that the view along the river will be ruined. St Paul's Cathedral has just been named Britain's favourite building so why are the GB people - unless they're stopped at review stage - allowed to block not just that view, but the entire skyline?

I've talked to other friends about this and they don't really care. I grew up feeling like the walk along the Thames and the London skyline was like therapy, and I wanted my children to be able to do the same. So did my parents. They can't be bothered opposing it because they think times change and no one cares any more about the skyline and views. Is that true?

Re the cash, DP and I travel to work nearly every day (well he does every day) and pay our fares to TFL. Why should we pay for TFL to invest in expensive ornaments? I don't think TFL is accountable to anyone is it, so we can't even talk to the local MP about it.And Temple will become a nightmare, one of the last quiet places left in London. I feel like government forgets people live here and think it's a massive theme park for tourists.

A Garden Bridge might be very nice, sure, but why there? It could revive other areas along the Thames rather than clogging up a place which is already busy. What do MNers think? Sorry, it's a very London-centric thing I guess....but then again, my folks don't live here any more and they're still upset about it.

MinesAPintOfTea Sat 23-May-15 10:41:32

You need to contact your local councillor and MP. Just write them each a letter setting out your concerns. Although I am of the opinion that skylines change, this is not investment for growth and isn't suitable when the country is suffering austerity. Especially not in an area that doesn't require investment.

MinesAPintOfTea Sat 23-May-15 10:41:34

You need to contact your local councillor and MP. Just write them each a letter setting out your concerns. Although I am of the opinion that skylines change, this is not investment for growth and isn't suitable when the country is suffering austerity. Especially not in an area that doesn't require investment.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sat 23-May-15 10:43:06

I like the idea of it. Whether it's the right time now, is another matter.

butterfly133 Sat 23-May-15 10:53:12

We have donated towards the campaign funding the legal challenge. We were thinking of donating more but I'm starting to wonder if we are throwing good money at a hopeless case. We have written to the MP and the Mayor and got completely PR replies.

I agree that the skyline changes, but this is blocking it. London's skyline has changed many times and I don't mind that. It's the blocking of the view that upsets me.

LAGWAFIS Sat 23-May-15 10:56:12

I agree entirely. It's a folly, and a damaging one at that

Almahart Sat 23-May-15 10:58:17

I agree too. It would have been far better to have put it further upstream near Battersea. That part of the river is massively congested and touristy as it is

butterfly133 Sun 24-May-15 20:10:27

there's a really good article here about the difference between the idea of it and the reality of it
www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/24/observer-view-on-thames-garden-bridge#img-1

Looks like Queen's Walk is going as well - sacrificing a green space we already have doesn't make sense.

Maybe that's why there isn't more opposition - maybe people don't realise the detail of it? Or they really think a bridge with trees on it is worth that money? In reality, trees on that bridge will be so exposed, I think they will be very limited in what can be planted. Blossom will all be gone on the first windy day. It will require so much maintenance. And with a figure of 800 commuters crossing per day, TFL shouldn't be paying at all but now I'm wondering if they are stuck with it because Boris said they had to spend it? I am not sure.

meglet Sun 24-May-15 20:12:15

I went off it when I heard it wouldn't be a public right of way, apparently you have to pay to use it shock .

meglet Sun 24-May-15 20:16:16

actually, maybe imagined it confused . ignore me!

butterfly133 Sun 24-May-15 20:28:56

no, you didn't imagine it exactly, there is a technical issue about who it belongs to and when it will be closed. It will be free to use but given that it will be a narrow bridge with trees on it, nobody would pay anyway. In fact, if Boris & chums are so keen to build it, it would be more sensible to put it somewhere else and charge for it.

I think they realise that once people realise a bridge with trees can't really be fantasy land - the idea of a "floating woodland" just can't happen in that narrow space - then no one would pay for it. The actual width of it is narrower than some of the green spaces that are being sacrificed to building the landing spots (not sure what the real word for a bridge's landing bits is!!)

no offence meglet, but I'm curious - when I hear people saying they'd love to use it, I wonder how often they'd use it?

butterfly133 Thu 28-May-15 10:32:49

that Observer article seems to have helped. I had colleagues tell me yesterday that they didn't know about all the problems and now they've signed the petition/donated too. I presume mumsnet doesn't allow petition links but if you google it you will find it easily, if anyone else wants to sign.

I actually didn't know about this Heatherwick company whose sculpture in Manchester was dismantled because it was unsafe??! I wonder how he got the job of designing a bridge like this?

Garnett Thu 28-May-15 13:36:53

I live in London, and hae just got back from New York where I walked along the High Line which is excellent.

But where that differs from the proposed Garden Bridge and where the Garden Bridge shares the same problem with most plans for new houses is that the High Line took a rundown eyesore and transformed it, instead of just building over new spaces.

Just as housing should go on brown field sites, so should a project like this have wholly beneficial outcomes.

Additionally, skylines may change, but normally they do so only for real needs and after careful planning, not, as you say, on a pure folly.

butterfly133 Thu 28-May-15 13:48:53

Garnett, you're so right, comparisons annoy me because that's not a valid comparison at all. And the level of public funding requested for High Line was much lower.

I've noticed that as well as TFL, the Dept of Transport are listed as major donors on the Garden Bridge website - I can think of so many railway lines around the country that could benefit from that work.

The judicial review has been confirmed for June 10th & 11th. As I say, I don't know if mumsnet will allow a petition link but if anyone feels strongly about this, the more signatures there are before review, the better. They've already put some bit of the digging equipment in place, which shocked me a bit.

I've never opposed a London project before, I think the developing skyline is great. But that makes it even more odd that they want to block it and spend £60m in a time of alleged austerity.

lightgreenglass Thu 28-May-15 13:52:50

I agree, and the proposed coal line in Peckham is something I would much rather see the money spent on. I know it has no commuter value but it's estimated to cost £1 million as opposed to £60 million.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Thu 28-May-15 14:01:32

I think you can link the petition if you want - I've seen dozens of petitions linked in MN threads.

butterfly133 Thu 28-May-15 14:02:10

^ ooh, I didn't even know about that. I've also heard that Boris cancelled a bridge that was needed on the east side of the river, presumably to put funds in the pot for the Garden Bridge. So many things could be useful in London, it seems insanity to do this.

I'm also starting to realise how large landing spaces along both banks will be. Argh.

butterfly133 Thu 28-May-15 14:13:45

Cheddar - we cross posted - thanks! I guess MN can pull it if it's not allowed. I'm new here so not sure of rules

www.change.org/p/greg-clark-boris-johnson-put-the-garden-bridge-where-it-s-needed-without-using-public-funds-or-scrap-the-idea

donations for the legal challenge
www.everyclick.com/tcos

it really shocks me that this is happening, it shouldn't have got as far as it has without going via the Public Accounts Committee or something? I am particularly annoyed by those posters on the Tube which say "TFL doesn't make a profit because we reinvest everything into transport". The GB is not transport....then again, I think they funded the city trampoline - fun, yes, but not right use of money paid for travel, I reckon.

sparechange Thu 28-May-15 14:28:43

I completely agree, Butterfly
I live further west, and a few years ago, there was a proposal to put a cycle bridge next to Battersea bridge, because the huge number of cyclists vying with buses for room on the existing narrow bridges was down right dangerous.
For those that don't know it, Battersea Bridge is a very ordinary, dull bridge, but English Heritiage blocked the proposal to have the 'sidecar' cycle bridge, because it would spoil the view of the existing bridge.

Yet ruining the look of a very beautiful stretch of river is a-ok. And on top of that, TFL, who should be focussed on things that make the life (and commutes) of Londoners easier and above all SAFER are throwing money at something which is only going to be for tourists. I think this is totally out of their remit, on top of all the other issues you've listed...

knittingdad Thu 28-May-15 15:06:34

I don't think TFL is accountable to anyone is it, so we can't even talk to the local MP about it.

Transport for London is run by the Mayor of London, and members of the London Assembly scrutinise its decisions and budget. So I advise contacting the Mayor and your Assembly members to let them know about your view.

I completely agree that TfL shouldn't be funding the Garden Bridge, because extra crossings of the Thames are much more urgently required downstream, much of the time the bridge will be closed to the public for corporate events, and similar grand claims about combining greenery with new buildings have completely failed to live up to the hype.

The "Sky Garden" used to justify the building of the "Walkie Talkie" tower is the precedent that should worry Londoners.

butterfly133 Thu 28-May-15 15:37:00

thanks for all the replies
I should have said, I wrote a letter to the Mayor's office a while ago and got a PR reply if you know what I mean. I am now writing to literally everyone I can thinking of, including Lambeth and Westminster

I vaguely remember that about a cycle bridge at Battersea in fact.

Re the Sky Garden, yes, that was a strange thing as well, I know it was meant to be a lot more of a garden than it actually is. I don't see how the so called Garden Bridge can even have trees. How will they set down roots? I admit I am not very knowledgeable on these things though.

mileend2bermondsey Thu 28-May-15 16:54:02

Total waste of money. There is absolutely no need for more bridges in central London. Tfl should redirect the money to an overground bridge east of Tower Bridge suitable for busses, cars and pedestrians IMO.

lalalonglegs Thu 28-May-15 17:24:12

I really liked the idea of the bridge when I first heard about it but have become increasingly uncomfortable about it. It's not just the cost/viability of a "garden" bridge nor the view, I am utterly opposed to the way in which it will become sort of joyless, corporate space where security guards will have some discretion over who can come in and what constitutes a rabble (no groups of more than eight people meaning that my family and, say, my friend's family couldn't visit together) and what they can do while they are there (no picnics! In a "public" space!). It will be yet another asset that corporate London can enjoy and exploit while squeezing the general public out.

Like Garnett, I've visited and admired the High Line but get very irritated with comparisons between the two projects. I've never heard of the Coal Line before (and live quite near by blush) but, yep, that's definitely where the money should go.

IcaMorgan Thu 28-May-15 17:29:52

TFL are responsible for streets as well as transport which is probably why they are involved

butterfly133 Thu 28-May-15 18:17:09

IcaMorgan - thanks for that. I guess I don't see this as a pedestrian bridge, it will be too crowded to use for that. The point will be to dawdle, as the Observer article explained so well, it can't be that and a practical crossing point. Even so, £30m from TFL for one bridge is not right. It's also, ooh, 300, 350m from Waterloo Bridge, so very much the wrong place.

I have a feeling TFL might be involved because Boris ordered them to be.

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