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Bridge will be a privately-managed tourist attraction where groups of eight or more will have to apply for permission to visit

Joanna Lumley says that she is the person responsible for the decision to exclude cyclists from the proposed Garden Bridge across the Thames. She argues that their presence would prevent it from being ‘a peaceful place to walk’. The bridge, which will receive £60m of public money, will also be closed between midnight and 6am with groups of more than eight people having to apply for permission to visit.

The £175m Garden Bridge, which received planning permission from Lambeth council last week, would span the Thames between Temple and the South Bank – a site where there are already four bridges within just over a mile of each other.

Speaking at Lambeth's planning applications committee meeting, Lumley described a bucolic escape in the middle of the capital: “This will be a place where you can maybe slow down; hear birds singing; hear leaves rustling; get a little bit of calm; take the heat out of the situation.”

However, this oasis of calm will not be open to cyclists and Lumley says that she is the one responsible for that decision.

“Being a Lambeth resident and using the Tube, I walk a lot. I don’t walk in cycle lanes and that’s the reason why I – and I’m the only one you can blame for not having cycles on this bridge – I said that I believe that cyclists speeding over the bridge would stop it being a peaceful place to walk and a safe place maybe to take a wheelchair.”

Lambeth council’s recent planning report to its planning committee expands on this, explaining why cyclists would be able to push bikes over, but not ride.

“If cyclists were allowed to ride, to provide a safe pedestrian environment it would be necessary to incorporate segregated cycle lanes or wider shared paths. This would result in a much reduced planted area and erode the benefits of the bridge as a green space.”

While the plan is for the 6,000 square metre bridge to feature 270 trees, campaigners point out that more than 30 trees would be cut down and green space on the South Bank lost to house the bridge landing at Bernie Spain Gardens.

Groups of eight or more obliged to request a ‘formal visit’

On top of this, it seems large groups of people will also be unwelcome – or at best tolerated. The report reads: “All groups of eight or more visitors would be required to contact the Garden Bridge Trust to request a formal visit to the bridge.”

It is claimed that the policy would ‘assist visitor management’ and ‘discourage protest groups’.

The Garden Bridge Trust said that it had no intention to introduce ticketing for the bridge. However, in a statement it did suggest that the bridge could sometimes be closed for private functions.

"The Trust is exploring the possibility of holding a limited number of private events on the bridge each year. Every effort would be made to ensure the bridge remains open to the general public during these events, but there may be occasions where the bridge is closed."

No guaranteed right of way

The bridge will also be closed between the hours of midnight and 6am. The Independent reports how Green Party member of the London Assembly, Darren Johnson, feels this is unacceptable for a development which is set to receive £60m of public funding – half each from TfL and central government.

“I was really shocked to discover that this bridge is receiving £60m from the joint transport budgets of the Mayor and the national government, but the public have no guaranteed right of way.

"Central London is a 24-hour city, but under the current proposals there is effectively no bridge for at least a quarter of the day. Given the scale of public funding for this bridge I would have expected the Mayor to have pinned down guarantees that Londoners will be able to use this bridge to cross the river 24/7 in ten or twenty years’ time.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

48 comments

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Gus T [301 posts] 2 years ago
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“Being a Lambeth resident and using the Tube, I walk a lot. I don’t walk in cycle lanes and that’s the reason why I – and I’m the only one you can blame for not having cycles on this bridge – I said that I believe that cyclists speeding over the bridge would stop it being a peaceful place to walk and a safe place maybe to take a wheelchair.”

From national treasure to selfish tosser in 1 easy move. She believes but can't provide proof. Selfishness in the exreme.

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southdownswolf [15 posts] 2 years ago
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Sounds like a good idea to just have pedestrians rather than bikes. There are plenty of other bridges nearby that cyclists can use if needed. If you want to take your bike over the bridge, get off it, walk with it and appreciate the surroundings.

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Gus T [301 posts] 2 years ago
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You can't, she has banned cycles. Read before replying. It helps.

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Flying Scot [933 posts] 2 years ago
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It's not as if I would ever use it, but if it's a garden, rather than a transport route, fair enough.

I don't cycle in gardens, why should there be a right to cycle everywhere?

But it really shouldn't get transport money, not if it will not be a right of way even for foot traffic.

I would bet this thing never gets built.

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DrJDog [407 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd like to see what the environmental impact of this is.

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alotronic [509 posts] 2 years ago
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I guess it's just the fond hope that there might one day be a way to cross the Thames on a bike safely that is appealing. I can see the sense of this as a garden and not a bridge; so it's a new park that just happens to cross the river. Great. now could we get a cycle only bridge somewhere useful, that would be excellent.

But really, how much effort would it take to build a cycleway on one side of the bridge? Or under it? 1 million tops? Stump that up then Boris.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1579 posts] 2 years ago
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Flying Scot wrote:

It's not as if I would ever use it, but if it's a garden, rather than a transport route, fair enough.

I don't cycle in gardens, why should there be a right to cycle everywhere?

But it really shouldn't get transport money, not if it will not be a right of way even for foot traffic.

I don't know that that's enough, for me.

Not only is there the question of transport budget money, there's also the question of whose river is it? I don't quite understand the legal status of the Thames, but morally at least, to me, its at least partly public space, so anything permanently built over it should have as open public access as possible, sans any compelling argument to the contrary.

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bikebot [2120 posts] 2 years ago
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I have a much bigger problem with the bridge not having a public right of way.

There's been a steady expansion of apparently public, but in reality privately owned space in London. It's ridiculous to support the creation of another private space with significant tax funds, without any legal obligations for access to the public paying for it.

And for anyone doubting the importance of a right of way, Joanna Lumley has just demonstrated the problem. Why the blazes is she the one apparently singularly deciding how the bridge can be used? What policies might appear in the future on a personal whim?

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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£60m would buy a lot of cycling infrastructure

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abudhabiChris [691 posts] 2 years ago
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Sounds fair enough to me.

Yes it would be great to have safer cycling routes across the river but that isn't an objection to this garden bridge concept.

Walking across the river is a wonderful London experience which will be even better being able to amble through a park. Having to look out for bikes would detract from it.

It's the same with the limit on groups. You're having a peaceful time looking along the Thames and 60 people from a bus tour following someone holding a sign come streaming past and taking photos. Not very zen is it.

On the hours, I can see why they would want it closed in those times for security reasons. The chances of vandalism, attacks or other unwelcome behaviour in a setting like that are somewhat higher at 3am than 7pm I would have thought.

The only thing I would say is that if it is getting public funding then it should have an administrative board with representatives of government and public groups.

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newtonuk [64 posts] 2 years ago
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Gus T wrote:

You can't, she has banned cycles. Read before replying. It helps.

Oh the irony, read the article before replying to posts telling people to read the article...

Quote:

Lambeth council’s recent planning report to its planning committee expands on this, explaining why cyclists would be able to push bikes over, but not ride.

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newtonuk [64 posts] 2 years ago
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It sounds like a nice idea!

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FluffyKittenofT... [1579 posts] 2 years ago
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abudhabiChris wrote:

Sounds fair enough to me.

What's so fair about using transport funds for something that isn't for transport? Or using public money for something that's not properly open to the public?

As for 'having to look out for bikes' - well easily solved, just build a bike-bridge right next to it and attached to it.

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drfabulous0 [408 posts] 2 years ago
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What on Earth is the point of this?

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oldstrath [758 posts] 2 years ago
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So Lumley has managed the standard rich bastard's trick of socialism for the rich, sod all for the poor. Be nice to manage the reverse one day. Be nice to see a "mass trespass" by taxpayers as well.

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number9dream [25 posts] 2 years ago
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Gus T wrote:

You can't, she has banned cycles. Read before replying. It helps.

Excellent comment - except did you actually read it yourself?

Quote:

Lambeth council’s recent planning report to its planning committee expands on this, explaining why cyclists would be able to push bikes over, but not ride.

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Kadinkski [662 posts] 2 years ago
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This is a really nice idea - a calm, meditative space in the middle of London's bustle.

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hsiaolc [343 posts] 2 years ago
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Purpose of bridge is to cross from point A to B. I personally would not spend such a expensive bridge just for walking. If you want to go to the garden then go to your local one or other national parks with a garden in it.

I rather London build the £1 Billion cycle super highway to showcase the world we are ready for the future.

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eurotrash [88 posts] 2 years ago
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I think it's fine to ban people from riding bicycles from that bridge, after all there are apparently already four bridges within about a mile of each other there - I don't see why it should cause any more of a fuss for cyclists than for motorists who will also not be allowed to drive through there. A place for pedestrians, why not?

And I can definitely appreciate that people might just want a place to walk around absent-mindedly or allow their children to do so, without always having to have eyes in the back of their head to spot any oncoming cyclist.

That being said, I do hate Joanna Lumley...

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arfa [847 posts] 2 years ago
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Public money being spent on something not wholly available for public access ? You're having a laugh. We're still running a £100bn annual tax budget deficit and there's money for this ?!
There are way more pressing issues rather than "Joanna's folly" and as for public spaces in that area, try Battersea park, St Jame's park and Green park for starters. Plenty of flora and fauna freely available there.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1579 posts] 2 years ago
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Kadinkski wrote:

This is a really nice idea - a calm, meditative space in the middle of London's bustle.

We already have quite a few such spaces. There'd be more if only we could get rid of some of the bastard cars!

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FluffyKittenofT... [1579 posts] 2 years ago
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eurotrash wrote:

I think it's fine to ban people from riding bicycles from that bridge, after all there are apparently already four bridges within about a mile of each other there - I don't see why it should cause any more of a fuss for cyclists than for motorists who will also not be allowed to drive through there.

Well motorists already dominate all those other bridges. If I remember rightly, Southwark bridge isn't bad, but the others are not good for cyclists. Having 'four bridges within a mile' doesn't help when those bridges are essentially for motorists (are you including Tower bridge? That's particularly horrible, given the junction at the northern end of it)
edit - oh, yeah, and Vauxhall has that rather baffling layout at the southern end.

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hsiaolc [343 posts] 2 years ago
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arfa wrote:

Public money being spent on something not wholly available for public access ? You're having a laugh. We're still running a £100bn annual tax budget deficit and there's money for this ?!
There are way more pressing issues rather than "Joanna's folly" and as for public spaces in that area, try Battersea park, St Jame's park and Green park for starters. Plenty of flora and fauna freely available there.

+1

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zanf [912 posts] 2 years ago
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eurotrash wrote:

I think it's fine to ban people from riding bicycles from that bridge, after all there are apparently already four bridges within about a mile of each other there - I don't see why it should cause any more of a fuss for cyclists than for motorists who will also not be allowed to drive through there. A place for pedestrians, why not?

There is already the millennium bridge which goes from the Tate modern to St. Paul's which is pedestrians only. There is not one single bridge that is exclusive to cycle traffic across the Thames.

It will just be another privatised space in London paid for by the public, that will have a shitty for policy to keep out the 'plebs'. Who can enter/use the space is already being decided by a single person while being paid for by millions.

Fuck Lumley and her shitty bridge. And I say that as a Lambeth resident.

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Chuck [587 posts] 2 years ago
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eurotrash wrote:

I think it's fine to ban people from riding bicycles from that bridge, after all there are apparently already four bridges within about a mile of each other there - I don't see why it should cause any more of a fuss for cyclists than for motorists who will also not be allowed to drive through there. A place for pedestrians, why not?

And I can definitely appreciate that people might just want a place to walk around absent-mindedly or allow their children to do so, without always having to have eyes in the back of their head to spot any oncoming cyclist.

I sort of agree with this, but it doesn't sit very well with the fact that it's a bridge, built with public money, and TfL money at that. The 'transport' bit suggests it should be for all Londoners, not just the ones Joanna Lumley approves of.

A little oasis of tranquility sounds great, and maybe it would be more tranquil without bikes buzzing through. But if that's what they want to build, they shouldn't take TfL money to build a bridge and then decide they want to exclude people from using it.

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mrmo [2092 posts] 2 years ago
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Kadinkski wrote:

This is a really nice idea - a calm, meditative space in the middle of London's bustle.

I find kew, richmond park etc suitable.

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bikebot [2120 posts] 2 years ago
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Kadinkski wrote:

This is a really nice idea - a calm, meditative space in the middle of London's bustle.

Sure, if you find a small garden full of tourists calming. It's being built right next to all the coach parking along the embankment. If you ignore the idyllic description and just look at the plan with the critical eye that the planning officers should have, it's fairly obvious it's not going to work as proposed.

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mike the bike [898 posts] 2 years ago
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arfa wrote:

Public money being spent on something not wholly available for public access ? You're having a laugh........

There are many examples of public money being spent on establishments that are not wholly open to the public. Try Buckingham Palace, police stations, barracks, naval dockyards, airports, hospitals, the MI6 building, cemeteries, schools, doctors' surgeries, mortuaries, council buildings and Stonehenge visitor centre just for starters.
I haven't noticed too much protest over these.

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bikebot [2120 posts] 2 years ago
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None of those are public spaces. The bridge is, that's the point.

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arfa [847 posts] 2 years ago
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if you would like me to be more precise Mike, how about money from public coffers for public infrastructure (ie TfL money) ?

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