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Thames Garden Bridge overcomes legal challenge

A major legal challenge to the construction of the controversial Thames Garden Bridge has been settled, it has emerged.

A judicial review was due to be heard this month of Lambeth Council’s decision to award planning permission to the £175M crossing in central London.

But the council and opponent Michael Ball – the leader of campaign body the Waterloo Community Development Group – have now resolved the issue.

This means planning permission is no longer an issue for the crossing, which is scheduled to start on site in 2016.

Lambeth Council said in a statement: “A Lambeth resident issued a legal challenge against Lambeth Council’s planning decision but that has now been resolved.

“We acted properly in exercising the council’s functions as local planning authority for the scheme and, when granting planning permission for the Garden Bridge, imposed more than 45 conditions which the Garden Bridge Trust must show will be met.”

Project promoter the Garden Bridge Trust said: “We are pleased that the judicial review between Lambeth Council and Michael Ball has been resolved.

“With £125m raised and our preferred contractors appointed, we continue to make good progress, with detailed plans being developed and construction planned to start in early 2016.  

“We will continue to work with local authorities, the community and businesses to ensure that benefits are maximised in the local area.”

Opponents had claimed that the structure would obstruct views to the north of the river, and that there was inadequate provision for on-going maintenance costs. 

A joint venture of French firm Bouygues and Italian contractor Cimolai was selected in April as preferred bidder for the controversial 6,000m2 river crossing between Blackfriars and Waterloo Bridges.

The Garden Bridge Trust has set out the process by which the crossing would be built, with major elements due to be made in Italy and shipped over.

Senior engineers have questioned the cost of the bridge, and others have challenged the fact that cyclists will have to dismount to cross it, and that it will close at midnight.

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