Institute approves scaled-back motion demanding detailed investigation

The RIBA has decided against calling for the Garden Bridge to be halted pending an investigation into the way it was procured.

Members of RIBA Council instead agreed a scaled-back motion demanding “full and detailed independent scrutiny” to establish whether the procurement process was “fair, transparent and in accordance with the law”.

The revised motion was proposed by Roger Shrimplin after Mark Kemp and other members said they did not want to put the £175m bridge on hold.

The original motion, with its call to suspend the project, was proposed by procurement campaigner Walter Menteth and backed by the RIBA’s London region last month.

But RIBA president Jane Duncan, who previously demanded the project be halted but has since changed her stance, said: “I don’t want the RIBA to be seen as antagonistic but as open to working with the new mayor.”

She is confident of securing a meeting with Sadiq Khan after TfL asked her for the RIBA’s help in improving its procurement processes, which she described as “quite an offer”.

Past president Stephen Hodder said it was an “opportunity we should take”. He added: “We should use that to open the door to TfL and use it in a positive way to engage in discussion with them about future procurement.”

TfL has been severely criticised for the advantages apparently given to Heatherwick Studio during the procurement process. Marks Barfield and Wilkinson Eyre also entered a design competition for the job.

Khan has expressed concerns about the process but has ultimately backed the bridge, saying too much money has been spent for it to be shelved now.