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Cloud Cuckoo Land

The Garden Bridge project was a high profile and expensive failure. Significant sums of public money were spent on a footbridge for London which never materialised. That failure involved a registered charity, the Garden Bridge Trust. This has led some to question the Charity Commission’s regulatory oversight of the Garden Bridge Trust.

Even though the Commission finds that trustees complied with their legal obligations and that there was no mismanagement, the fact that £50 million of public funds were spent by a charity and produced no demonstrable public benefit or impact represents a failure for charity which risks undermining public trust.

The circumstances that led to the collapse of the Garden Bridge project and the eventual winding up of the charity may be unusual, but there are important lessons here for charities, policy makers and for the Commission to reflect on how charities are used to deliver significant infrastructure projects.

Read Charity Commission - The Garden Bridge project: Charity Commission concluding report