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Garden Bridge Trust has met legal obligations - Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has published a report of its investigation into the Garden Bridge Trust.

Garden Bridge

The Garden Bridge Trust (GBT) was set up to build the controversial proposed pedestrian bridge between the South Bank and Temple Station.

The Charity Commission opened an 'operational compliance case' to examine the trust after complaints from the public about funding, structure, governance and potential conflicts of interest.

A case report, published on Tuesday, concludes that "the trustees were meeting their duties and were acting in compliance with charity law".

However the regulator did note that "the trustees could have provided more detail in their annual report about the progress made given the expenditure incurred and the challenges addressed by the charity in the last year".

David Holdsworth, the Charity Commission's chief operating officer, said: "We have been able to offer public assurance that the Garden Bridge Trust is meeting its obligations as a registered charity and that it has the proper financial controls in place.

"We are aware of the considerable public debate regarding this project. Our role is not to comment on the merits of the project but to assess concerns about its governance and ensure it is compliant with the legal framework for charities.

"This case shows that high profile charities can attract considerable public scrutiny, and the public rightly expect charities to be transparent and accountable. Having trustees in place with the right skills and experience is crucial for a charity to operate effectively."

Responding to the commission's findings, Lord Davies, chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, said: "We are pleased this report recognises trustee' financial management and our strategic leadership. The trustees take their responsibilities seriously.

"We welcome the fact that the Charity Commission has endorsed our approach and we are always looking to learn lessons and make improvements.

"The Garden Bridge is an inspirational project that involves the best of British design and innovation. It will be a landmark for central London and bring huge benefits to the capital and the UK.

"We now intend to draw a line in the sand about historical aspects of this project delivered by other parties and get on to make the Garden Bridge a reality."

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