Southbank undercroft saved: Spiritual home of UK skateboarding rescued from developers

The Southbank admits defeat in 18-month battle

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The Independent Online

Skateboard campaigners have emerged victorious after an 18-month battle with the Southbank Centre over redevelopment of the site dubbed the “spiritual home” of British skateboarding.

The Southbank has reached an agreement with campaign group Long Live Southbank, which was set up to protect the Queen Elizabeth Hall undercroft for skateboarders, BMX bikers and urban artists.

It is understood that the Southbank privately admitted defeat was inevitable after London Mayor Boris Johnson’s surprise backing of the skateboarders in January, followed by a Lambeth Council ruling against it several months later.

Today’s agreement comes after three months of talks and sees all legal action on both sides withdrawn.

The deal means the Southbank will not be able to push ahead with its ambitious £120m plans to redevelop the Festival Wing, which were unveiled last year

The plans involved demolishing the undercroft and setting up an alternative skate park 120 metres away, under Hungerford Bridge.

Long Live Southbank agreed to support alternative plans to redevelop the Festival Wing, which would focus on the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery, as long as the redevelopment leaves the skate area of the undercroft alone.

Lib Peck, leader of Lambeth Council called it an “imaginative solution” and said: “This agreement is a sensible way of protecting both and we can all now look forward.”

The Southbank is pushing ahead with essential maintenance work, which was announced earlier in the year. It will then look to raise funds to push ahead with a revised redevelopment plan for the Festival Wing.

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