Southbank Centre reveals three possible designs for replacement skatepark

A bitter row over the existing skatepark has forced the centre to delay its £120m overhaul

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The Independent Online

The Southbank Centre has submitted three possible designs for a new skatepark on its site in a bid to resolve the dispute that has left its £120m redevelopment plans in limbo.

A bitter row erupted this year as the Southbank centre revealed the redevelopment of its “Festival Wing” would move the historic skateboard park 120 metres up river.

A group of skaters mobilised to protest the decision, drawing support and legal advice that forced the Southbank to delay its overhaul.

The organisation has now released images for three potential designs of the new space under Hungerford Bridge, which is 10 per cent larger than the existing park, known as the Undercroft.

It has called on the skaters to get involved in choosing the design and to join the selection panel that will have the final say on which architect firm is chosen. 

Jude Kelly, artistic director of Southbank Centre, said: “We want skating and other urban arts to continue to flourish at Southbank Centre and we hope these proposals show we’re committed to a permanent, riverside skate space right next to the Royal Festival Hall.”

She added the designs were “not set in stone” adding they welcomed input from “the skateboarders who regularly use the Undercroft and any other skaters, graffiti writers or BMXers who want to be involved in the design.”

So far, those involved in protesting the move have not commented on the new designs, but are likely to push to remain at the site that has seen skating for four decades.

The Southbank commissioned Rich Holland, architectural designer at Floda 31, and Iain Borden, professor of architecture and urban culture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, to draw up a draft design brief. Both are skaters themselves.

Three architect firms, 42 Architects, SNE Architects and Rich Architecture, were invited to respond to that brief and came up with the designs.

The brief included making the site urban and gritty, not looking like a purpose-built skatepark and encouraging skateboarders and others to take it over.