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Charles Glass 2017-01-27
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Who needs to span over water when you can sit atop it instead?

That appears to be the rationale behind a floating park in the Paddington area of London that has just been given the green light by planners.

According to the Evening Standard the proposed park is 45m long and will be moored in the Paddington Basin, close to a new development of posh flats and offices, and also not too far from the Giz UK office.

It's the brainchild of Royal Horticultural Society Young Garden Designer of the Year Tony Woods, who reportedly - and not terribly reassuringly - said that the biggest challenge has been ensuring the structure is stable.

Apparently once the soil has been added, it should be fine - and the park will be able to accommodate up to 150 people at a time.

It'll all be made from recycled materials treated to look like reclaimed wood, and will be split into three areas: The regular park area, a floating nature reserve so don't be surprised if drowned squirrels start turning up in the canal and - of course - an events space - because this was previously square footage in the capital that hadn't previously been monetised.

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Peter Merchant 2017-04-07
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The PR disaster that is London's Garden Bridge has hit the headlines again today after Dame Margaret Hodge's newly-released report stated it should be cancelled outright.

Dame Hodge was asked to investigate by Mayor Sadiq Khan back in September:

I've launched a formal inquiry into the Garden Bridge project - led by Dame Margaret Hodge: https://t.co/McXM089jDW

Khan has repeatedly said he doesn't believe the bridge represents good value for money for Londoners, and that he'd rather spend it on the West End.

The Garden Bridge doesn't represent value for money.

I'd put the money towards pedestrianising Oxford St.

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David Clary 2017-08-14
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In news that will make our Editor want to throw a big lavish party, it's been announced that the controversial London Garden Bridge is dead.

The Garden Bridge Trust, the charity designed to build and run the proposed garden bridge, has informed the Mayor of London, Transport for London, and the Department of Transport of its decision to shut down the project.

The latter two had both allocated funds for the project, but according to the Trust the lack of support from Mayor Sadiq Khan is the primary reason why the project has been shelved.

Khan wrote to Lord Mervyn Davies, Chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, in April, stating that he was not prepared to guarantee the bridge's annual maintenance costs - which planning permission had relied on.

Despite having discussed receiving the guarantee from another potential benefactor, the trustees decided that they couldn't go ahead with a big public project that didn't have the mayor's backing.

The Garden Bridge has been controversial since its inception, even though it had Gurkha-rights campaigner Joanna Lumley behind it.

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Jeremy Green 2019-02-13
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The chosen local architects assisting the council in redeveloping Exeter have borrowed the idea of the "garden bridge" that plagued London for a year or two, as part of a 20-year plan to make Exeter a... place.

The whole "Liveable Exeter" master plan involves pedestrianising many traffic routes across the city to leave more room for pedestrians, to such an extent that one of the two current main bridges across the Exe is totally taken out of car use and treed-over.

It's not all about the bridge, mind, as the current plans for Neo Exeter include setting aside land for 12,000 new homes as well; the garden bridge is a nice little bonus.

Somewhere for the 13-year-olds to take their stolen dockless bikes to and get drunk on cider.

Somewhere for locals to get stressed about dog poo.

Of course, Exeter City Council needs to find the money for all this and deal with what the taxi drivers think, so there's a chance it'll be massively and continually downscaled over the next few years, and will eventually take the form of 20 or so trees being planted, a modern bench, and 20 yards of new pavement.

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Luke Hall 2016-07-11
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London mayor Sadiq Khan may well be about to bring the controversial public/private Garden Bridge to an abrupt halt, as he's ordered some initial structural planning work to be put on hold pending new calculations on whether additional taxpayer money might be needed to make the project happen.

While Khan's official position is on the Yes/Build It side of things, there are some conditions attached to his approval -- specifically that no more than the £60m of public money already earmarked to pay for part of the £175m total build cost is needed.

That seems to be a bit of a sticking point at the moment, as Transport for London is currently in the process of approving the spending of a £3m chunk needed for structural works at Temple Tube station.

A spokesperson for the mayor's office told the Architect's Journal that: "This enabling work has since been suspended, and that will be reported to the TfL Finance and Policy Committee today.

Sadiq Khan has been clear that no new public funds should be committed to the Garden Bridge, and he has pledged to make the project more open and transparent -- standards that were not always met under the previous administration."

Want more updates from Gizmodo UK?

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Ralph Knotts 2016-07-11
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London mayor Sadiq Khan may well be about to bring the controversial public/private Garden Bridge to an abrupt halt, as he's ordered some initial structural planning work to be put on hold pending new calculations on whether additional taxpayer money might be needed to make the project happen.

While Khan's official position is on the Yes/Build It side of things, there are some conditions attached to his approval -- specifically that no more than the £60m of public money already earmarked to pay for part of the £175m total build cost is needed.

That seems to be a bit of a sticking point at the moment, as Transport for London is currently in the process of approving the spending of a £3m chunk needed for structural works at Temple Tube station.

A spokesperson for the mayor's office told the Architect's Journal that: "This enabling work has since been suspended, and that will be reported to the TfL Finance and Policy Committee today.

Sadiq Khan has been clear that no new public funds should be committed to the Garden Bridge, and he has pledged to make the project more open and transparent -- standards that were not always met under the previous administration."

Want more updates from Gizmodo UK?

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Robert Sanchez 2017-08-14

Construction of London’s Garden Bridge, originally slated for completion in 2018, has officially been cancelled.

The move was expected, following years of uncertainty over who would ultimately foot the bill for the project’s costly upkeep.

The Garden Bridge Trust, the charity created to oversee the planning and building of the bridge, said the cancellation was a direct result of a “lack of support” from London mayor Sadiq Khan.

The Trust has confirmed with WIRED that £37.4m of public money has been spent on "detailed pre-construction work" to date, but with "cancellation liabilities" the figure will likely amount to "more in the region of £50m".

"The Garden Bridge has not found its right moment, but I hope one day it will and that London continues to be open to ideas that make life here better," said Thomas Heatherwick, the bridge designer and founder of Heatherwick Studio.

In April, Khan sent a letter to the Trust announcing his withdrawal of support, blaming it on a £70 million funding gap: “I am simply not prepared to risk a situation where the taxpayer has to step in and contribute significant additional amounts to ensure the project is completed.” In 2015, Khan’s predecessor Boris Johnson pledged that London would provide a guarantee for the estimated £2-3m annual maintenance fee for the bridge, meaning the public would pay if enough private funds were not raised.

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Gerardo Diaz 2018-08-01
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The Garden Bridge that was proposed to span the Thames but then never did because people came to their senses for once, could return to haunt the trustees behind the concept.

One legal expert thinks the initial backers may have overstepped their responsibilities in promoting the idea and sloshing the money about before all permissions were granted, which could leave them liable for some of the £46m cost shouldered by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.

That's according to public and procurement law expert Jason Coppel QC, who says the trustees may have breached their obligation "to act with reasonable skill and care" in getting a construction contract in place with construction firm Bouygues.

As the trust behind the Garden Bridge project is a registered charity, its trustees could be held personally liable for any problems.

Hence legal people are now circling, looking at many options, including taking action against the Charity Commission or TfL to possibly recoup the public money invested in the failed occasionally-private garden bridge dream.

[Architect's Journal via The Times]

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Donald Mansour 2019-07-17
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From the man who brought us the garden bridge and water cannons

Analysis Likely future UK prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged to bring full fibre to all homes by 2025, a claim that telecoms experts have widely dismissed.

Writing in his £275,000-a-year weekly column in the Telegraph, Johnson said he addressed the issue of better broadband at a meeting with the Lincolnshire Conservatives.

"[W]hen I mentioned another priority of mine – almost casually – those farmers smote their weatherbeaten hands together and roared their assent.

Johnson said it was a "disgrace" that "this country should suffer from a deep digital divide, so that many rural areas and towns are simply left behind".

He went on to compare the UK's full-fibre penetration of 7 per cent with Spain's 85 per cent.

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Mark Alexander 2017-04-12

After the controversies of London's Garden Bridge, the government has announced the capital will be getting a new tunnel.

Following months of decision making, the Department for Transport has agreed the Lower Thames Crossing will connect Gravesend, in Kent, with Tilbury, in Essex.

In particular, the Lower Thames Crossing's route, which includes additional road infrastructure above ground, will run from the M25 motorway near North Ockendon, cross the A13 at Orsett, and venture under the Thames near Tilbury and Gravesend.

The preferred option, which still has to be approved by planning officials, was picked ahead of creating a tunnel or bridge next to the existing Dartford Crossing.

"The new Lower Thames Crossing, and other improvements in and around Dartford and Thurrock announced today, will further strengthen our economy while also creating thousands of jobs," transport secretary Chris Grayling said in a statement announcing the decision.

The tunnel is said to be the first new underground crossing of the Thames since the Queen Elizabeth II bridge, known as the Dartford Crossing, opened in 1991.

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Larry Armitage 2019-07-26
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Say what you will about Boris Johnson, former mayor of London and newly minted U.K. prime minister, but it can’t be denied that his bright blond mop of hair, penchant for the limelight and history of gaffes while in office at least give him a distinct personal brand (albeit one that’s drawn comparisons to America’s President Donald Trump).

Now that he’s officially taken on the U.K.’s top job, some creatives at Huge London have put together a set of brand guidelines for Johnson that include, according to the agency, “suggestions for tone of voice, typeface, art direction and personal values.”

Although it may look official on the surface, “Boris: The Brand” is really just a compilation of his worst offenses to date.

For instance, it’s recommended that he take heed of the saying “all PR is good PR,” a reference to his history of sexist, homophobic and racist remarks (last year, he said that Muslim women wearing burqas look like “letter boxes”).

In a comical list of “dos and don’ts,” it’s suggested that Johnson not mention the fact that his failed Garden Bridge project, which involved building a bridge covered with trees and flowers over the River Thames in central London, ended up costing taxpayers £43 million.

Instead, the guidelines propose that he position the abandoned project as a “shining example” of the vision he had for London during his time as mayor.

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Jermaine Dusenbery 2017-01-25
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The morning rush hour is over and, if you live in a city in the developed world, you are likely to be settling down at your desk for the next eight or so hours.

Urban architect Anthony Townsend thinks cities need more creative approaches to how we work and is keen to reclaim the streets by creating pop-up workspaces in the parks and plazas of the financial district in New York.

An atrium filled with natural light and the smell of fresh coffee greets workers at Deloitte's Edge headquarters in Amsterdam, which also uses an underwater aquifer to provide ambient temperature all year round and a sensor network to monitor the use of lights - providing a better working environment while saving money.

The Edge has been dubbed one of the world's greenest offices and now many are following suit - installing sensors to monitor light, electricity and water usage, planting urban gardens and offering employees access to bike or car-sharing schemes.

To counteract this, cities are rushing out a whole series of green initiatives - from electric buses being trialled in many cities including Perth, London and Paris , to bike-sharing schemes, such as those in Montreal, Barcelona and Amsterdam.

Some are committing to "urban greening" - London is considering a garden bridge - while in Paris, 20,000 residents have backed plans via a citizen engagement app 'Madam Mayor, I have an idea' for a 2m euro $2.2m, £1.7m investment in vertical gardens across the city.

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Damion Gutierrez 2020-10-03
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The government is set to once again look at the feasibility of building a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland, as as part of a national review of transport connections across the UK.

Downing Street said on Saturday the review, led by Network Rail chair Sir Peter Hendy, will explore the “cost, practicality and demand” for a fixed link, which some critics have already dismissed as impractical and a waste of money which would be better spent elsewhere.

Boris Johnson has enthusiastically mooted the bridge idea several times and the government confirmed earlier this year that it was being discussed by officials.

The PM has been ridiculed in the past for his support of the idea – and it’s not the first grand transport plan to face criticism.

While Johnson was London mayor,  £50m of taxpayers’ money was wasted on the proposed London Garden Bridge which he supported.

The Emirates Air Line cable car also cost taxpayers millions despite Johnson insisting the money could come from private companies, and has since been dubbed a “white elephant” due to under-use.

Johnson has also been mocked for a failed proposal for a new airport in the Thames Estuary, dubbed ‘Boris island’.

The upcoming transport study will set out advice on a “wide range of possible options” to improve the quality and availability of links across the UK, Downing Street said.

The review comes after Johnson, in a speech in July on how to kick-start the economy following the coronavirus pandemic, pledged £100m on 29 road projects.

Downing St said the Hendy review will also look at the feasibility of various other options designed to boost links to Scotland and Wales, including improving major roads like the A1.

Making the review announcement on Saturday, Johnson said: “The United Kingdom is the greatest political partnership the world has ever seen and we need transport links between our nations that are as strong as our historic bonds.”

Hendy, who ran London’s transport network during the Olympics in 2012, said: “Improving links across the UK on the basis of the wider economic benefits that increased investment will deliver will be of benefit to everyone in the UK, and I’m thus very pleased to lead this work.”

He is expected to publish his recommendations in the summer of 2021. 

Politicians from Scotland and Northern Ireland told transport secretary Grant Shapps in March that the billions of pounds a fixed link across the Irish Sea would cost could be better spent on vital infrastructure projects 

 
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William Labounty 2021-06-21
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Promises, promises, what price promises? Back in the summer of 2019, fresh from his Tory leadership triumph, Boris Johnson famously couldn’t resist the temptation of trying to make a political pledge sound all the more binding by making it outside No.10.

He didn’t just stand on the steps of Downing Street to promise a social care plan. In a strange bit of meta-politics he actually told us: “I am announcing now, on the steps of Downing Street, that we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared.” Of course, we’ve long since learned there was no plan; it wasn’t “clear” and it certainly wasn’t “prepared”.

Just three days later, the newly-installed PM was at it again. In his first major policy speech, he turned up to Manchester to commit to building a brand new rail line to Leeds, part of the Northern Powerhouse Rail across the Pennines. While many in the social care sector remember the No.10 words, quite a few in the north remember the rail pledge too.

“Today I am going to deliver on my commitment to that vision with a pledge to fund the Leeds to Manchester route,” Johnson said. He said there would need to be agreement on the exact proposal “but I have tasked officials to accelerate their work on these plans so that we are ready to do a deal in the autumn.”

That was autumn 2019, but it may end up being autumn 2021 before any “deal” is done. It has emerged that there are new plans to cut costs by upgrading an existing rail route through Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

Our Arj Singh has sources claiming a split between No.10 and the Treasury, with the latter preferring to wait until the spending review later this year. If it is scaled back as well as delayed, the ‘Crossrail for the North’ may leave plenty in the north cross.

It’s just one example of several tensions between No.10 and No.11 in coming months, with the Sunday Times pointing to the pensions lock, catch-up funding and, yes, social care, as potential flashpoints. On the intriguing proposal of a one-year ‘moratorium’ on not putting up pensions to match earnings, Johnson said: “I’m reading all sorts of stuff at the moment which I don’t recognise at all.” 

Similarly, the PM’s spokesman insisted the £200m successor to the Royal Yacht was definitely going ahead and it would definitely come from the Ministry of Defence’s budget. On both pensions and the new Britannia, it felt like No.10 asserting itself.

On the longest day of the year, it was a midsummer murder of the idea the Treasury calls the shots. After all, when James Dyson complained about Rishi Sunak’s failure to meet his tax break demands last year, it was the PM who texted back: “James, I am first lord of the Treasury…”.

Johnson’s own description of his political philosophy is that he is a “Brexity Hezza”. Just like Michael Heseltine, he likes grand projets, state-led investment. His record of getting value for money, however, is not so peachy: highly expensive ‘Boris buses’, loss-making cable cars over the Thames, millions on a garden bridge to nowhere.

The image of a spendthrift prime minister who doles out short-term cash to avoid making long-term hard choices was one outlined by Dominic Cummings in his latest broadside. “The most valuable commodity in govt is focus and the PM literally believes that focus is a menace to his freedom to do whatever he fancies today,” the Substack Svengali wrote. “Hence why you see the opposite of focus now and will do till he goes.”

Given Cummings’ own lavish praise for Sunak of late, he clearly thinks a sense of grip, both fiscal and managerial, will arrive once the chancellor moves into the next house in Downing Street. The battle with Tory backbenchers over planning reform, a Cummings cause celebre, may well end up with another Johnsonian tweak of policy that avoids another hard choice.

The joke among some Conservative fiscal hawks is that Johnson really is a 2021 version of the old joke: “a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money”. Having ruled out a return to ‘austerity’, it appears he’s forcing his own Treasury into an unenviable choice between yet more borrowing and new tax hikes.

There’s a strong suspicion that Johnson really does think more borrowing is the answer, if growth fails to look sustainable. If so, that would be in keeping with the PM’s “buy now, pay later” approach. The begging bowl needed for the rash and flash renovation of his Downing Street flat seemed to encapsulate his entire political philosophy of putting off nasty bills.

Johnson hates political costs almost as much as he hates balancing the books. Hard choices will be softened, the can kicked down the road as long as he can keep the voters smiling.

The only spending he seems to hate is spending his own political capital. Most PMs use the early part of a term to do the tough stuff before wooing the voters later, but Johnson seems to be as permanently in campaign mode as any US president.

Yet as Cummings suggests, the lack of focus on actual governance between elections may one day catch up with him. Splashing the cash on northern rail projects is nowhere near as valuable as having a proper, coherent plan to “level up” life chances. Avoiding a planning revolt won’t work unless houses really are built somewhere.

“Chaos isn’t that bad - it means people have to look to me to see who is in charge,” Cummings claimed the PM once told him. Will Rishi Sunak be the one to eventually call time on the chaos? Or will the voters?

Johnson’s lockdown this year shows the merits of telling it how it is, giving it to the public straight and making a really hard choice. But he’s got a long way to go before making a habit of it.

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Charles Glass 2017-01-27
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Who needs to span over water when you can sit atop it instead?

That appears to be the rationale behind a floating park in the Paddington area of London that has just been given the green light by planners.

According to the Evening Standard the proposed park is 45m long and will be moored in the Paddington Basin, close to a new development of posh flats and offices, and also not too far from the Giz UK office.

It's the brainchild of Royal Horticultural Society Young Garden Designer of the Year Tony Woods, who reportedly - and not terribly reassuringly - said that the biggest challenge has been ensuring the structure is stable.

Apparently once the soil has been added, it should be fine - and the park will be able to accommodate up to 150 people at a time.

It'll all be made from recycled materials treated to look like reclaimed wood, and will be split into three areas: The regular park area, a floating nature reserve so don't be surprised if drowned squirrels start turning up in the canal and - of course - an events space - because this was previously square footage in the capital that hadn't previously been monetised.

David Clary 2017-08-14
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In news that will make our Editor want to throw a big lavish party, it's been announced that the controversial London Garden Bridge is dead.

The Garden Bridge Trust, the charity designed to build and run the proposed garden bridge, has informed the Mayor of London, Transport for London, and the Department of Transport of its decision to shut down the project.

The latter two had both allocated funds for the project, but according to the Trust the lack of support from Mayor Sadiq Khan is the primary reason why the project has been shelved.

Khan wrote to Lord Mervyn Davies, Chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, in April, stating that he was not prepared to guarantee the bridge's annual maintenance costs - which planning permission had relied on.

Despite having discussed receiving the guarantee from another potential benefactor, the trustees decided that they couldn't go ahead with a big public project that didn't have the mayor's backing.

The Garden Bridge has been controversial since its inception, even though it had Gurkha-rights campaigner Joanna Lumley behind it.

Luke Hall 2016-07-11
img

London mayor Sadiq Khan may well be about to bring the controversial public/private Garden Bridge to an abrupt halt, as he's ordered some initial structural planning work to be put on hold pending new calculations on whether additional taxpayer money might be needed to make the project happen.

While Khan's official position is on the Yes/Build It side of things, there are some conditions attached to his approval -- specifically that no more than the £60m of public money already earmarked to pay for part of the £175m total build cost is needed.

That seems to be a bit of a sticking point at the moment, as Transport for London is currently in the process of approving the spending of a £3m chunk needed for structural works at Temple Tube station.

A spokesperson for the mayor's office told the Architect's Journal that: "This enabling work has since been suspended, and that will be reported to the TfL Finance and Policy Committee today.

Sadiq Khan has been clear that no new public funds should be committed to the Garden Bridge, and he has pledged to make the project more open and transparent -- standards that were not always met under the previous administration."

Want more updates from Gizmodo UK?

Robert Sanchez 2017-08-14

Construction of London’s Garden Bridge, originally slated for completion in 2018, has officially been cancelled.

The move was expected, following years of uncertainty over who would ultimately foot the bill for the project’s costly upkeep.

The Garden Bridge Trust, the charity created to oversee the planning and building of the bridge, said the cancellation was a direct result of a “lack of support” from London mayor Sadiq Khan.

The Trust has confirmed with WIRED that £37.4m of public money has been spent on "detailed pre-construction work" to date, but with "cancellation liabilities" the figure will likely amount to "more in the region of £50m".

"The Garden Bridge has not found its right moment, but I hope one day it will and that London continues to be open to ideas that make life here better," said Thomas Heatherwick, the bridge designer and founder of Heatherwick Studio.

In April, Khan sent a letter to the Trust announcing his withdrawal of support, blaming it on a £70 million funding gap: “I am simply not prepared to risk a situation where the taxpayer has to step in and contribute significant additional amounts to ensure the project is completed.” In 2015, Khan’s predecessor Boris Johnson pledged that London would provide a guarantee for the estimated £2-3m annual maintenance fee for the bridge, meaning the public would pay if enough private funds were not raised.

Donald Mansour 2019-07-17
img

From the man who brought us the garden bridge and water cannons

Analysis Likely future UK prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged to bring full fibre to all homes by 2025, a claim that telecoms experts have widely dismissed.

Writing in his £275,000-a-year weekly column in the Telegraph, Johnson said he addressed the issue of better broadband at a meeting with the Lincolnshire Conservatives.

"[W]hen I mentioned another priority of mine – almost casually – those farmers smote their weatherbeaten hands together and roared their assent.

Johnson said it was a "disgrace" that "this country should suffer from a deep digital divide, so that many rural areas and towns are simply left behind".

He went on to compare the UK's full-fibre penetration of 7 per cent with Spain's 85 per cent.

Larry Armitage 2019-07-26
img

Say what you will about Boris Johnson, former mayor of London and newly minted U.K. prime minister, but it can’t be denied that his bright blond mop of hair, penchant for the limelight and history of gaffes while in office at least give him a distinct personal brand (albeit one that’s drawn comparisons to America’s President Donald Trump).

Now that he’s officially taken on the U.K.’s top job, some creatives at Huge London have put together a set of brand guidelines for Johnson that include, according to the agency, “suggestions for tone of voice, typeface, art direction and personal values.”

Although it may look official on the surface, “Boris: The Brand” is really just a compilation of his worst offenses to date.

For instance, it’s recommended that he take heed of the saying “all PR is good PR,” a reference to his history of sexist, homophobic and racist remarks (last year, he said that Muslim women wearing burqas look like “letter boxes”).

In a comical list of “dos and don’ts,” it’s suggested that Johnson not mention the fact that his failed Garden Bridge project, which involved building a bridge covered with trees and flowers over the River Thames in central London, ended up costing taxpayers £43 million.

Instead, the guidelines propose that he position the abandoned project as a “shining example” of the vision he had for London during his time as mayor.

Damion Gutierrez 2020-10-03
img

The government is set to once again look at the feasibility of building a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland, as as part of a national review of transport connections across the UK.

Downing Street said on Saturday the review, led by Network Rail chair Sir Peter Hendy, will explore the “cost, practicality and demand” for a fixed link, which some critics have already dismissed as impractical and a waste of money which would be better spent elsewhere.

Boris Johnson has enthusiastically mooted the bridge idea several times and the government confirmed earlier this year that it was being discussed by officials.

The PM has been ridiculed in the past for his support of the idea – and it’s not the first grand transport plan to face criticism.

While Johnson was London mayor,  £50m of taxpayers’ money was wasted on the proposed London Garden Bridge which he supported.

The Emirates Air Line cable car also cost taxpayers millions despite Johnson insisting the money could come from private companies, and has since been dubbed a “white elephant” due to under-use.

Johnson has also been mocked for a failed proposal for a new airport in the Thames Estuary, dubbed ‘Boris island’.

The upcoming transport study will set out advice on a “wide range of possible options” to improve the quality and availability of links across the UK, Downing Street said.

The review comes after Johnson, in a speech in July on how to kick-start the economy following the coronavirus pandemic, pledged £100m on 29 road projects.

Downing St said the Hendy review will also look at the feasibility of various other options designed to boost links to Scotland and Wales, including improving major roads like the A1.

Making the review announcement on Saturday, Johnson said: “The United Kingdom is the greatest political partnership the world has ever seen and we need transport links between our nations that are as strong as our historic bonds.”

Hendy, who ran London’s transport network during the Olympics in 2012, said: “Improving links across the UK on the basis of the wider economic benefits that increased investment will deliver will be of benefit to everyone in the UK, and I’m thus very pleased to lead this work.”

He is expected to publish his recommendations in the summer of 2021. 

Politicians from Scotland and Northern Ireland told transport secretary Grant Shapps in March that the billions of pounds a fixed link across the Irish Sea would cost could be better spent on vital infrastructure projects 

 
Peter Merchant 2017-04-07
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The PR disaster that is London's Garden Bridge has hit the headlines again today after Dame Margaret Hodge's newly-released report stated it should be cancelled outright.

Dame Hodge was asked to investigate by Mayor Sadiq Khan back in September:

I've launched a formal inquiry into the Garden Bridge project - led by Dame Margaret Hodge: https://t.co/McXM089jDW

Khan has repeatedly said he doesn't believe the bridge represents good value for money for Londoners, and that he'd rather spend it on the West End.

The Garden Bridge doesn't represent value for money.

I'd put the money towards pedestrianising Oxford St.

Jeremy Green 2019-02-13
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The chosen local architects assisting the council in redeveloping Exeter have borrowed the idea of the "garden bridge" that plagued London for a year or two, as part of a 20-year plan to make Exeter a... place.

The whole "Liveable Exeter" master plan involves pedestrianising many traffic routes across the city to leave more room for pedestrians, to such an extent that one of the two current main bridges across the Exe is totally taken out of car use and treed-over.

It's not all about the bridge, mind, as the current plans for Neo Exeter include setting aside land for 12,000 new homes as well; the garden bridge is a nice little bonus.

Somewhere for the 13-year-olds to take their stolen dockless bikes to and get drunk on cider.

Somewhere for locals to get stressed about dog poo.

Of course, Exeter City Council needs to find the money for all this and deal with what the taxi drivers think, so there's a chance it'll be massively and continually downscaled over the next few years, and will eventually take the form of 20 or so trees being planted, a modern bench, and 20 yards of new pavement.

Ralph Knotts 2016-07-11
img

London mayor Sadiq Khan may well be about to bring the controversial public/private Garden Bridge to an abrupt halt, as he's ordered some initial structural planning work to be put on hold pending new calculations on whether additional taxpayer money might be needed to make the project happen.

While Khan's official position is on the Yes/Build It side of things, there are some conditions attached to his approval -- specifically that no more than the £60m of public money already earmarked to pay for part of the £175m total build cost is needed.

That seems to be a bit of a sticking point at the moment, as Transport for London is currently in the process of approving the spending of a £3m chunk needed for structural works at Temple Tube station.

A spokesperson for the mayor's office told the Architect's Journal that: "This enabling work has since been suspended, and that will be reported to the TfL Finance and Policy Committee today.

Sadiq Khan has been clear that no new public funds should be committed to the Garden Bridge, and he has pledged to make the project more open and transparent -- standards that were not always met under the previous administration."

Want more updates from Gizmodo UK?

Gerardo Diaz 2018-08-01
img

The Garden Bridge that was proposed to span the Thames but then never did because people came to their senses for once, could return to haunt the trustees behind the concept.

One legal expert thinks the initial backers may have overstepped their responsibilities in promoting the idea and sloshing the money about before all permissions were granted, which could leave them liable for some of the £46m cost shouldered by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.

That's according to public and procurement law expert Jason Coppel QC, who says the trustees may have breached their obligation "to act with reasonable skill and care" in getting a construction contract in place with construction firm Bouygues.

As the trust behind the Garden Bridge project is a registered charity, its trustees could be held personally liable for any problems.

Hence legal people are now circling, looking at many options, including taking action against the Charity Commission or TfL to possibly recoup the public money invested in the failed occasionally-private garden bridge dream.

[Architect's Journal via The Times]

Mark Alexander 2017-04-12

After the controversies of London's Garden Bridge, the government has announced the capital will be getting a new tunnel.

Following months of decision making, the Department for Transport has agreed the Lower Thames Crossing will connect Gravesend, in Kent, with Tilbury, in Essex.

In particular, the Lower Thames Crossing's route, which includes additional road infrastructure above ground, will run from the M25 motorway near North Ockendon, cross the A13 at Orsett, and venture under the Thames near Tilbury and Gravesend.

The preferred option, which still has to be approved by planning officials, was picked ahead of creating a tunnel or bridge next to the existing Dartford Crossing.

"The new Lower Thames Crossing, and other improvements in and around Dartford and Thurrock announced today, will further strengthen our economy while also creating thousands of jobs," transport secretary Chris Grayling said in a statement announcing the decision.

The tunnel is said to be the first new underground crossing of the Thames since the Queen Elizabeth II bridge, known as the Dartford Crossing, opened in 1991.

Jermaine Dusenbery 2017-01-25
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The morning rush hour is over and, if you live in a city in the developed world, you are likely to be settling down at your desk for the next eight or so hours.

Urban architect Anthony Townsend thinks cities need more creative approaches to how we work and is keen to reclaim the streets by creating pop-up workspaces in the parks and plazas of the financial district in New York.

An atrium filled with natural light and the smell of fresh coffee greets workers at Deloitte's Edge headquarters in Amsterdam, which also uses an underwater aquifer to provide ambient temperature all year round and a sensor network to monitor the use of lights - providing a better working environment while saving money.

The Edge has been dubbed one of the world's greenest offices and now many are following suit - installing sensors to monitor light, electricity and water usage, planting urban gardens and offering employees access to bike or car-sharing schemes.

To counteract this, cities are rushing out a whole series of green initiatives - from electric buses being trialled in many cities including Perth, London and Paris , to bike-sharing schemes, such as those in Montreal, Barcelona and Amsterdam.

Some are committing to "urban greening" - London is considering a garden bridge - while in Paris, 20,000 residents have backed plans via a citizen engagement app 'Madam Mayor, I have an idea' for a 2m euro $2.2m, £1.7m investment in vertical gardens across the city.

William Labounty 2021-06-21
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Promises, promises, what price promises? Back in the summer of 2019, fresh from his Tory leadership triumph, Boris Johnson famously couldn’t resist the temptation of trying to make a political pledge sound all the more binding by making it outside No.10.

He didn’t just stand on the steps of Downing Street to promise a social care plan. In a strange bit of meta-politics he actually told us: “I am announcing now, on the steps of Downing Street, that we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared.” Of course, we’ve long since learned there was no plan; it wasn’t “clear” and it certainly wasn’t “prepared”.

Just three days later, the newly-installed PM was at it again. In his first major policy speech, he turned up to Manchester to commit to building a brand new rail line to Leeds, part of the Northern Powerhouse Rail across the Pennines. While many in the social care sector remember the No.10 words, quite a few in the north remember the rail pledge too.

“Today I am going to deliver on my commitment to that vision with a pledge to fund the Leeds to Manchester route,” Johnson said. He said there would need to be agreement on the exact proposal “but I have tasked officials to accelerate their work on these plans so that we are ready to do a deal in the autumn.”

That was autumn 2019, but it may end up being autumn 2021 before any “deal” is done. It has emerged that there are new plans to cut costs by upgrading an existing rail route through Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

Our Arj Singh has sources claiming a split between No.10 and the Treasury, with the latter preferring to wait until the spending review later this year. If it is scaled back as well as delayed, the ‘Crossrail for the North’ may leave plenty in the north cross.

It’s just one example of several tensions between No.10 and No.11 in coming months, with the Sunday Times pointing to the pensions lock, catch-up funding and, yes, social care, as potential flashpoints. On the intriguing proposal of a one-year ‘moratorium’ on not putting up pensions to match earnings, Johnson said: “I’m reading all sorts of stuff at the moment which I don’t recognise at all.” 

Similarly, the PM’s spokesman insisted the £200m successor to the Royal Yacht was definitely going ahead and it would definitely come from the Ministry of Defence’s budget. On both pensions and the new Britannia, it felt like No.10 asserting itself.

On the longest day of the year, it was a midsummer murder of the idea the Treasury calls the shots. After all, when James Dyson complained about Rishi Sunak’s failure to meet his tax break demands last year, it was the PM who texted back: “James, I am first lord of the Treasury…”.

Johnson’s own description of his political philosophy is that he is a “Brexity Hezza”. Just like Michael Heseltine, he likes grand projets, state-led investment. His record of getting value for money, however, is not so peachy: highly expensive ‘Boris buses’, loss-making cable cars over the Thames, millions on a garden bridge to nowhere.

The image of a spendthrift prime minister who doles out short-term cash to avoid making long-term hard choices was one outlined by Dominic Cummings in his latest broadside. “The most valuable commodity in govt is focus and the PM literally believes that focus is a menace to his freedom to do whatever he fancies today,” the Substack Svengali wrote. “Hence why you see the opposite of focus now and will do till he goes.”

Given Cummings’ own lavish praise for Sunak of late, he clearly thinks a sense of grip, both fiscal and managerial, will arrive once the chancellor moves into the next house in Downing Street. The battle with Tory backbenchers over planning reform, a Cummings cause celebre, may well end up with another Johnsonian tweak of policy that avoids another hard choice.

The joke among some Conservative fiscal hawks is that Johnson really is a 2021 version of the old joke: “a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money”. Having ruled out a return to ‘austerity’, it appears he’s forcing his own Treasury into an unenviable choice between yet more borrowing and new tax hikes.

There’s a strong suspicion that Johnson really does think more borrowing is the answer, if growth fails to look sustainable. If so, that would be in keeping with the PM’s “buy now, pay later” approach. The begging bowl needed for the rash and flash renovation of his Downing Street flat seemed to encapsulate his entire political philosophy of putting off nasty bills.

Johnson hates political costs almost as much as he hates balancing the books. Hard choices will be softened, the can kicked down the road as long as he can keep the voters smiling.

The only spending he seems to hate is spending his own political capital. Most PMs use the early part of a term to do the tough stuff before wooing the voters later, but Johnson seems to be as permanently in campaign mode as any US president.

Yet as Cummings suggests, the lack of focus on actual governance between elections may one day catch up with him. Splashing the cash on northern rail projects is nowhere near as valuable as having a proper, coherent plan to “level up” life chances. Avoiding a planning revolt won’t work unless houses really are built somewhere.

“Chaos isn’t that bad - it means people have to look to me to see who is in charge,” Cummings claimed the PM once told him. Will Rishi Sunak be the one to eventually call time on the chaos? Or will the voters?

Johnson’s lockdown this year shows the merits of telling it how it is, giving it to the public straight and making a really hard choice. But he’s got a long way to go before making a habit of it.