Monday 22 December 2014

Building Bridges

Amid talk of austerity, belt tightening, reduction, economies and the rest the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, having cried "Phwoar" at the idea of Joanna Lumley, now proposes to spend £170 million on a Garden Bridge linking the lawyers of The Temple to the leading actors of the National Theatre, a marriage that reflects our present governance.

Inevitably, that is just the starting bid.  If it is built you can be sure it will cost a great deal more.  There are one or two other minor passing issues.  For example who will pay the maintenance and upkeep and what added charges may accrue in the overall financing.

The lawyers of The Temple do not want it.  They are fussing about matters such as wrecking one of the ancient sites of London.  The National Theatre may like the idea but as its finances are being squeezed they might prefer the money to go on culture rather than horticulture.

Joanna is an attractive lady of great charm and positive ideas.  She had a lot to do with the charities for providing for the Gurkhas and their Nepalese families and the politicians buckled.  But for some who sold up their ancestral patch in Nepal for social housing in Aldershot it has not been so happy.

Quite why the Garden Bridge is her latest pet project does not matter.  What does matter is this kind of effort on the part of celebrities usually ends up with others paying a large bill to create an open ended major financial commitment.

The cable car installation, Emirates Air Line, down at Greenwich by the Millennium Dome, which came in at £60 million, courtesy of The Emirates, is not used anything like as much as was claimed likely.  Certainly, it looks nice but these days we can do without large loss makers however pretty they are.

If we are looking for bridges across the Thames that might be more useful it might be better to look at other locations away from the centre which badly need traffic relief.  There are several stretches where an ordinary new bridge could make a real difference and the traffic flows would justify it.

Perhaps, Boris should pull up his trousers and pull down the curtains on this particular performance.                                                             

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a high maintenance idea to me. Just what we don't need.