£53m cost of Garden Bridge that never was


The final cost of the failed Garden Bridge project was £53m, according to Transport for London (TfL), with the majority of the cash (£43m) coming from the public sector.

However, TfL said that despite concerns that trustees on the project may have breached their legal duties there is no reasonable prospect of it or the Government being legally able to withhold future payments of £5.5m or recover past payments,


The project, which initially backed the scheme under former mayor Boris Johnson, folded in August 2017 after current mayor Sadiq Khan withdrew funding guarantees.

TfL has now published a detailed breakdown of the Garden Bridge Trust's final expenditure on the project, which shows a total of almost £53.5m was spent on the project.

It said the final public sector spend will be around £43m - split between £24m from TfL and £19m from the Department for Transport (DfT). Up to £60m of public funding was initially made available to the Trust, apportioned as £30m each from TfL and the (DfT). Approximately £37m of this funding was paid to the Trust in a series of grant payments tied to specific funding conditions.

TfL said that as financial administrator for the public sector funding, it has spent the last year reviewing the Trust's request for payment under the underwriting agreement.

Alex Williams, director of city planning at TfL said: 'We worked to ensure that the cost to the public sector has been kept to a minimum, and having carefully reviewed the Garden Bridge Trust's request, we have now confirmed the final payment legally required under the terms of the underwriting agreement made by the Government.

'This formally ends our involvement with the project.'

TfL said the final amount payable to the Trust is £5.5m, which will come from DfT funding, and include around £500k for future liabilities and contingency associated with the formal wind-up of the Trust in accordance with Charity Commission requirements.

It said all documents and assessments relating to the review of the underwriting have now been published online, as part of its ‘continuing commitment to transparency’.

These documents include a full line-by-line breakdown of all expenditure on the project and the final breakdown of what the underwriting will be used for.

TfL said that as part of the review, it also sought independent legal advice from a leading QC, ‘following concerns raised about whether the Trustees of the Garden Bridge Trust may have breached their legal duties’. It said this advice found that there is no reasonable prospect of it or the DfT being legally able to either withhold future payments, or recover past payments.

Final breakdown of public sector funding:


  • Services in kind, covered under the funding agreement (primarily on securing planning permission, legal fees and TfL internal staff costs) prior to the Trust taking control of the project in November 2015 £10.67m
  • Grant payments as per schedule in the funding agreement £13.25m

Total £23.92m


  • Grant payments as per schedule in the funding agreement £13.45m
  • Underwriting agreement (Agreed payment) £5.00m
  • Underwriting agreement (Contingency) £0.49m

Total £18.94m

Total public sector funding £42.86m


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