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Does SE1 need a Diana memorial bridge?

Newspaper reports last week re-opened the controversy over a campaign for a Princess Diana Memorial Footbridge to be built across the Thames near the National Theatre on the South Bank.

Actress Joanna Lumley is leading the campaign for a "garden bridge", laid out with trees and plants.

Ms Lumley recently met London Mayor Ken Livingstone to seek his support. She first raised the proposals three years ago but they never took off. Now she has returned to lobbying for the 19 million bridge, which has been outlined on paper by international consulting engineers Ove Arup.

Details of Ms Lumley's proposals emerged in a written answer from Mr Livingstone to London Assembly member Brian Coleman, who had inquired about their meeting.

Ms Lumley's lobbying of the Mayor is believed to have taken place in May at Romney House, the GLA's temporary headquarters before SE1's City Hall opened.

It is unknown whether Mr Livingstone, who is on holiday in France, was in favour of Ms Lumley's plans. "There's no word at the moment whether he backs the scheme or not," a spokesman for the Mayor said.

Ms Lumley said in 1999: "A bridge is a symbolic memorial; it would not just be a shrine, as a fountain would; it would be used. I was winded when I heard about the fountain; we need something that is not just a monument but is there for a reason. A fountain is too much like a grave; I am proposing something much more stylish and audacious." The original concept for the bridge featured cafes, bars and gaslights. It was to be a steel and glass structure and almost as wide as a road bridge.

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