Celebrities lend their support to Undercroft skate park campaign


An event was held at the weekend to coincide with the centre’s ‘Activism Weekend’


By Oli Rahman

A skaters’ protest group held an event at the Southbank Centre Art Gallery to coincide with the centre’s ‘Activism Weekend’.

‘Save Our Southbank’ described the weekend of live music and dance as a “random and spontaneous creative gathering” to protest against the proposed closure of the Undercroft skatepark.

Rapper and activist Immortal Technique played a set, and DJ Goldie lent his support to the cause.

Professional skater Chewy Cannon, who has skated in the undercroft for over 30 years, said: “The only way we’re going to be successful is with the public’s help, and this kind of public display is really important.”

A separate group called Long Live Southbank are launching a legal challenge against the plans to replace the underground skatepark with retail units.

They say it is a heritage site and can technically be classed as a “Village Green” under the Commons Act 2006, and have set up a company through which they can challenge the application.

Tony, 54, an artist involved in the campaign, said: “It’s nice to know they didn’t realise the skateboarders would be so well organized.”

He added that he had seen a tour group from English Heritage being shown around the site last week, and that he thought the heritage case was a strong one.

Chewy Cannon is less confident about the Undercroft’s future and said he feared the campaign was merely a delaying tactic.

“It’s a good community, it’s like a free youth club. I would encourage people to use the site before it disappears in September,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Seb Toussaint, with thanks.

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