South Bank skateboarding mecca lives to skate another day after Boris Johnson and campaigners halt undercroft redevelopment plans

The London Southbank skatepark will live on as the UK’s ‘home of skateboarding’ after Boris Johnson and Lambeth Council quashed £120million redevelopment plans.

The Long Live Southbank campaign (LLSB) won their legal and civil battle to preserve the Queen Elizabeth undercroft as a mecca for nationwide skateboarders.

The iconic location is set underneath the Southbank centre and adorned with some of England’s most inspired graffiti art.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has stoutly defended the skateboarding location which was built in 1976.

He told The Telegraph: “The skatepark is the epicentre of UK skateboarding and is part of the cultural fabric of London.

“It attracts tourists from across the world and undoubtedly adds to the vibrancy of the area – it helps to make London the great city it is.”

LLSB has faced a 17-month battle before finally persuading Lambeth Council to sign a binding agreement to ensure the area remains the long-term home of British skateboarding.

The legally-binding agreement means that skateboarding, BMXing, graffiti art and other urban activities will continue to be available in the public space free of charge.

The announcement from the council also resulted in LLSB dropping their application for a ‘Village Green status’, which was under judicial review after the government body’s decision to reject the application.

Residents, users and passers-by have all campaigned to save the treasured skate park.

The director of the neighbouring National Theatre, Sir Nicholas Hynter, wrote an open letter defending the historic spot.

He cited how the development would be aimed at commercial expansion rather than cultural.

Due to the council’s ruling, The Southbank Centre may complete some refurbishment.

However they may have to scrap the idea of building a ‘floating’ glass pavilion, which would have been used for rehearsing orchestras.

Picture courtesy of Walt Jabsco, with thanks

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