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Roger Billins

​After 6 years of campaigning, first of all to stop the construction of the Bridge and then to seek to make somebody accountable for the gross waste of £43 million of public money, it is time to archive the files. Recently, the eminent Q.C, Jason Coppel, acting on the instructions of Unity, has published his opinion to the affect that members of the public have no recourse by way of judicial review to attack the failure of The Charity Commission and TFL properly to supervise the actions of the Trustees of the Garden Bridge Trust. As the present Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has shown no inclination to call to account his predecessor or the management of TFL, there appears to be no prospect of anybody having to repay the public purse for its loss. At least the campaigners managed to stop the further waste of monies involved in actually building the bridge, which would no doubt have suffered the same fate as Crossrail-delayed and over budget.

One of the most troubling aspects of the case was the statement by Paul Morell on behalf of the Trust in January 2016 that all of the six conditions imposed by TFL to justify the next drawn down of Public funds by TFL had been met, including raising £145 million to pay for the construction of the bridge. In fact, this was plainly not the case as was evident from the Minutes of the Trustee’s December 2015 Trustees meeting. As a result of this misstatement, another £7 million of our money was flushed down the drain.

Unity is pleased to have worked pro bono on this with some dedicated people on this project who have given their time and energy to uncover some murky dealings.