London's garden bridge granted planning permission

Building will start next year if Mayor gives approval

London garden bridge

London's garden bridge has been granted planning permission by Westminster Council.

The plans by architect Thomas Heatherwick and actress Joanna Lumley to build a bridge over the Thames had already been approved by Lambeth Council, the other authority involved in the scheme.

They must now be rubber-stamped by the Mayor of London. If permission is granted, building is due to start late next year. Words: PA

The council took into account the creation of 270 jobs, economic benefits of better access to the Temple area and the ease of movement the bridge could provide for disabled people and children.

Of 292 responses to the planning consultation, 279 were in favour of the plans.

The mayor's office has already pledged £30 million through Transport for London and another £30 million is due to come from the Treasury.

The remainder of the total cost of £175 million will be made up by private donors, with £110 million already pledged.

The Garden Bridge Trust plan to ask for donations from the public next year.

However, critics have raised concerns that the bridge may limit views of St Paul's Cathedral and other landmarks.

A report drafted for the committee considering planning permission said there would be "significant impact" on views and that if the plans were for a commercial development the application would likely be refused.

Councillor Robert Davis, deputy leader of Westminster City Council, who chaired the committee, said: "This is something that is iconic and absolutely unique, and will be recognised right across the world.

"I understand the concerns about potential loss of views, but there is no doubting that this bridge will bring substantial and significant benefits to London."

According to the Garden Bridge Trust website, the bridge is designed to be "somewhere to meet and spend time, with education and volunteering opportunities so people can get their hands dirty, helping with the upkeep of this new community garden".

"It will also provide a new link between cultural centres and tourist attractions on the north and south banks," it says.

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