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Spectacular garden bridge given the go ahead to open in London

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Plans to build a garden bridge across the River Thames in London have been given the green light.

The Garden Bridge, which civil engineers are calling "the most expensive footbridge in the world", is set to be located between Temple and Southbank and will feature over 270 new trees, feature plants and meandering walkways.

It is the brain-child of actress and campaigner Joanna Lumley and English designer Thomas Heatherwick, who also designed the Olympic and Paralympics Cauldron and the new Routemaster buses.

The go-ahead for the £175m project was granted by Westminster Council following approval from Lambeth Council last month and will be funded using contributions from Transport for London, the Treasury, private donors and donations from the public next year.

The Garden Bridge

The bridge is set to open in 2018 and will act as a public garden and pedestrian crossing. According to the official website, it will be accessible to the public for free from 6am to midnight and there are no plans for ticketing. 

However, organisers are exploring the possibility of holding a limited number of private events on the bridge each year, including community events aimed at bringing local residents together and fundraising events that will contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the bridge.

The Garden Bridge

The bridge started off as a dreamy idea 16 years ago in the mind of actress-campaigner Joanna Lumley, who imagined it as a memorial "floating" garden for Princess Diana.

The Garden Bridge

There are hopes that the bridge, which is designed by Heatherwick Studio, will help reduce congestion and increase pedestrian movement across the river, supporting more people to walk across central London. The Environment Agency and Natural England are also involved in plans to protect and add to the river’s ecosystem and historic foreshore.

The Garden Bridge

However, critics have raised concerns that the bridge may limit views of St Paul’s Cathedral and other landmarks. 

Watch the video below for an artists' imagination of what to expect from the bridge, narrated by Joanna Lumley.

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