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Press Release: FUNDRAISER LAUNCHED FOR REDEVELOPMENT OF ICONIC SKATEBOARDING SPOT AND CREATION OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S HQ

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PRESS RELEASE

Date: Tuesday 20 June, 2017

FUNDRAISER LAUNCHED FOR REDEVELOPMENT OF ICONIC SKATEBOARDING SPOT AND CREATION OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S HQ

In a new collaborative vision Southbank Centre and Long Live Southbank (LLSB) today launched a £790,000 joint crowdfunding campaign to help raise funds to enable the restoration of the Queen Elizabeth Hall Undercroft for skateboarding, graffiti and other free creative activities. The scheme will also see the creation of a new space for children and young people to engage in learning and creative activities organised by Southbank Centre.

 

Plans now approved by Lambeth Council will see the reconfiguration of the existing Undercroft space on the Southbank to allow for the extension of the internationally renowned skate space, including improvements to lighting and a restoration of some original 1960s banks and concrete paving.

Ryan Decenzo. Photo by Lee Kirby

 

The development will also see the creation of a new learning and education space for children and young people, enabling Southbank Centre to deliver its vision for even greater provision of educational arts and culture facilities for young people. The new HQ will be the go-to place for young people looking for opportunities in the arts and creative industries – hosting vibrant new learning and participation events and programmes that will welcome hundreds of schoolchildren and local people to creative projects every day. 

 

The fundraising campaign, launched today, will feature a host of special events and collaborations and seeks to raise money from supporters including the international skateboarding community, general public, businesses and philanthropists for the opening of the space, scheduled for early 2018. The collaboration will benefit local residents and wider communities including visitors to London as well as London’s cultural landscape as a whole.

 

To support the campaign and read more please visit www.llsbdonate.com

James Parry Jones by Rob Ashby

The Undercroft, adjacent to the Thames in London, is the longest continually used skateboarding spot in the world, initially used in 1973 by some of the UK’s first skateboarders. The section of the space which will be restored, last skated in 2004, is of particular historical importance to skateboarders, with its original architectural layout the scene of a number of tricks which have gone down in skateboarding history.

 

The Undercroft is currently used by skateboarders, BMXers, graffiti writers, street artists, filmmakers, photographers and more, as well as being a tourist destination in the heart of London. The space has worldwide fame and attracts a large number of visiting skateboarders to London from across the globe. It is also an important space for local young people.

 

Louis Woodhead of Long Live Southbank said:

“This is a pioneering project, and it has been great to take our vision and develop something collaboratively with Southbank Centre. We want to create something with great positivity, both for our cities cultural heritage and the prospects of generations to come. If we all come together collectively to support this, a bright future for a space of worldwide importance can be realised.’

 

Elaine Bedell, Southbank Centre’s Chief Executive, said: “This development sees an important new offering for the various communities that regard Southbank Centre as their home. We’re delighted that our recent friendly collaboration with LLSB has led to the creation of this joint proposal which will allow us to create a new dynamic, fully accessible space for educational learning and participation for children, young people and local community groups whilst maintaining and expanding access to the space that is clearly much treasured by London’s skateboarding community.”

 

Professional Skateboarder, Chewy Cannon, of Long Live Southbank said: “Southbank is one of the most important skateboarding spots in the world, and this section has gained a legendary status. Restoring it would bring a big range of opportunities for generations to come.”

 

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “The Undercroft at Southbank Centre has become a very significant place for the local and global skateboarding community. ‘Reclaration’ is an interesting new word which sums up what Long Live Southbank wants to achieve: reclaiming and restoring a space with the cultural vibrancy that skateboarding contributes to the South Bank . We wish them every success in their fundraising campaign.”​

 

Legendary skateboarders Tony Hawk and Mark ‘Gonz’ Gonzales added their support to the campaign:

 

Tony Hawk said: Southbank is an iconic skate area, and can be beneficial in the development of skateboarding worldwide. I support this restoration so that future generations have access to a globally important creative space in the heart of London”.

 

Mark ‘Gonz’ Gonzales, referenced London slang by adding: “Southbank: It’s a safe place!”.

 

Skater of the Year 2016, Kyle Walker, said: “Everybody needs to come together and make it happen, we’re a family, we skateboard, everybody come together!”.”

 

# ENDS #

 

For further press information, interviews and images please contact:

Long Live Southbank, Paul Richards, +447956597333 / Louis Woodhead +447835058426

Email: hello@llsb.com

Social media:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LongLiveSouthbank/

Twitter https://twitter.com/Long_Live_SB

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/longlivesouthbank/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/savesouthbank

 

Southbank Centre’s Head of Communications, Kate Redway 0207 921 0687

Social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/southbankcentre/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/southbankcentre

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/southbankcentre

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SouthbankCentre

 

Available images:

  1. Southbank skaters discuss plans to restore the Undercroft. Photo by Fionn Hutton 2017
  2. LLSB Member and Southbank Skater, Savannah Keenan. Photo by Jenna Selby 2016
  3. Photo by Stéphane Decool 1978
  4. Mark ‘Gonz’ Gonzales, hippy jump at Southbank. Photo by Skin Phillips 1994.
  5. Mark ‘Gonz’ Gonzales. Photo by Andrew Horsley 2016.
  6. 1980s Southbank Photo by Rob Ashby
  7. Photo of Ryan Decenzo taken by Lee Kirby 2016

Mark Gonzales Hippy Jump at Southbank, 1994. Photo by Skin Phillips

The Long Live Southbank family in the space to be restored, 2017. Photo by Fionn Hutton.

Please contact the sender for high resolution images.

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

About Long Live Southbank (LLSB)

Long Live Southbank (LLSB) is a non-profit grassroots organisation created by the Southbank Undercroft community in order to maintain and enhance the world’s longest continually used skate spot and promote the benefits of skateboarding and creative practices.

 

Set up in 2013, LLSB has been recognised for its award-winning work by key figures from across the fields of art, culture, politics and architecture.

 

Southbank has been skated for over 5 decades and is one of the world’s most iconic skate spots, drawing skateboarders, BMXers and street artists from across the globe, as well as being a springboard of creativity.

 

LLSB is made of a pan-generational group from the Southbank community who represent the broad age ranges, social backgrounds and life experiences of the Undercroft.

 

Since its inception LLSB has assisted skateboarding campaigns in the UK and worldwide and continue to promote the benefits and positivity of skateboarding. More information available at www.llsb.com

 

Crowdfunding site for the project: www.llsbdonate.com

 

 

 

About Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 17 acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as The Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. For further information please visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk. Southbank Centre is carrying out vital restoration work on the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room.

 

Additional quotes:

 

“Southbank for me was like a paradise when I discovered it when I was 17 years old.”  Stéphane Decool, Photographer.

 

“Southbank is the place that any skater who visits London from the UK or abroad wants to visit – it is that iconic – even if it is just to take a photograph of the space or to feel that they have experienced it. Skateboarding and Southbank are synonymous; they both represent an individual creativity.” Jenna Selby, Skater and Photographer

 

“The Open Spaces Society strongly supports this important initiative to restore the Undercroft for people to enjoy: it is a modern-day town green, a hub where the community can meet and socialise. The society has campaigned since 1865 to save spaces for people and the Undercroft is a big success-story.”

Kate Ashbrook, General Secretary, Open Spaces Society

 

“The construction of the South Bank was underpinned by a strong sense of public-spiritedness, and the growth of diverse and vibrant communities in the area demonstrate how successful the complex has been. Skateboarding in the undercroft brings a unique vitality to this part of the South Bank, and we are delighted that this important space will be restored in a way that will help a wider audience engage with modern architecture.”

Catherine Croft, Director, C20 Society

 

“Public space can take many forms. New generations are seeking places to meet and practice which are in some instances very different from those sought by earlier generations. This is exciting and we must embrace this diversity. The Undercroft absolutely represents this shift. Historically a space seen as difficult is now embraced and enjoyed. It deserves our support.”

Peter Buchan, Regional Chair of RIBA

 

“Reclaiming the Undercroft and building a new children’s and young people’s centre, at the heart of Southbank, will bring together skaters and creatives from many different backgrounds who are the fabric of this fantastically unique place. It is so essential to have free creative spaces for young people at the heart of our capital city.”

Ruth O’Brien, Director of Operations, National Youth Arts Trust

 

“As many world cities squeeze out public places in favor of commerce and consumerism, it’s great to see London making space for creativity and culture… and skateboarding! The continued vitality of Southbank skate spot—Europe’s original magnet for skating and skaters—reminds us how neighborhoods sustain their social value by preserving both their history and their people.”

Jeff Speck, City Planner, Architectural Designer, Lecturer and Author of ‘Walkable City’.

 

“There are few places in the world like Southbank, the birthplace of British street skating and undoubtedly the most iconic skate spot in Europe. Every day, in cities around the globe, planners, developers, and designers do their best – often failing miserably – to create spaces that come close to having the vitality and energy that Southbank does. It is critical to preserve and maintain this unique space that is so much more than a skate spot: Southbank is a creative hub, meeting place, and performance space, all rolled into one. Long Live Southbank.”

Jeremy Németh, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Colorado Denver

 

“Architecture is not just a matter of structures, however beautiful or striking. People’s uses of buildings are essential, even when unintended or transgressive. The Undercroft is a wonderful example of this, animated both by skateboarding and its ever-changing graffiti. As the housing market increasingly excludes so many from participating in London’s culture the resurrection of the Undercroft has become ever more important.”

Professor Jules Lubbock, Emeritus Professor of Art History, University of Essex and Author on post war British architecture

 

“Over the last four years, people have come together to remember why the Southbank Undercroft is important and have put co-operation, inclusivity, and artistic expression at the heart of their story. There is now a need to ensure these principles continue to drive the future of the Undercroft. Designing a newly restored space will be a huge challenge, but what we learn from this process will be of immense importance, not just for Londoners but for us all.”

Dr Pollyanna Ruiz, Dr Rebecca Magdin, Dr Tim Sneslon and Dr David Webb, producers of award-winning film ‘You Can’t Move History’.

The Restoration Fundraiser Has Been Launched!!

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Big news from Long Live Southbank today… we’re rolling, and one step closer to restoring one of the most legendary spaces in skateboarding history! It has taken a tremendous amount of hard work from a lot of people to get us to where we are, so many thanks! We’ll be sure to thank you all, we really could not have done it without you.

We’re excited to say that planning permission has now been granted and, together with Southbank Centre, fundraising has commenced to restore sections of the Undercroft last skated in 2004. This is hugely important for skateboarders all around the world who look to Southbank for inspiration, for London’s cultural integrity, which needs somewhere like Southbank in the very heart of the city and for the local creatives who learn so much from such an inspiring free creative space with such a diverse and nurturing community.

Mark Gonzales Hippy Jump at Southbank, 1994. Photo by Skin Phillips

The Long Live Southbank family in the space to be restored, 2017. Photo by Fionn Hutton.

There is an incredible future to be created, and plenty you can do to make it happen. Donations are really important. You can make them at www.llsbdonate.com, and view a great set of rewards, from skateboarding lessons to limited photographic prints. Together with Southbank Centre, LLSB are responsible for raising the £790,000 required to restore the space and create a new schools and young people’s HQ adjacently. This is a huge task, and one we are relishing.

Long Live Southbank have a great deal planned for the summer of fundraising, including high profile art and photography shows and involvement at some of the UK’s top festivals.

Sign up to stay updated and join our 150,000 members at www.llsb.com. We can embark on the next phase of this journey all together!

James Parry Jones skating a DIY extension on the banks subject to the fundraiser. Photo by Rob Ashby

And stay in touch! If you have an idea for a fundraising event, think that there is somebody we really ought to speak to or just want to learn more about the campaign, you can email us at hello@llsb.com.

Whether you skate or not, this campaign is hugely important for the cultural fabric that we all inhabit. There is a huge opportunity to make a real positive change in the city, enriching our cultural life, giving young people the space to develop creatively and providing a much needed sense of community for us all. So donate if you are able, tell your friends and tell your family. Spread the word and let’s make this happen!

With all our thanks

The Long Live Southbank Family

 

As Norwich City Council propose a blanket ban on skateboarding in the City Centre, Long Live Southbank write an open letter in support of the Norwich Skate Scene who are opposing the ban.Dean Khalil frontside flip in Norwich. Image by Lee Kirby

Dean Khalil frontside flip in Norwich. Image by Lee Kirby

 

Is your Councillor really representing YOU?

 

LLSB PRESS RELEASE 23RD NOVEMBER: Press Release – Norwich skate ban 23rd Nov 2014

 

 

Councillors who have responded and oppose the ban:

Ben Price / Deborah Gihawi / Lesley Graham / Lucy Galvin / Lucy Howard / Paul Neale / Sandra Bögelein

 

Councillors who have responded and support the ban

Brenda Arthur (Leader of the Council)

Councillors who have accidently responded and support the ban

Mike Sands

Councillors who have responded but been unclear on their position

James ‘Bert’ Bremmer

Councillors who support the ban and have not responded

Keith Driver (portfolio holder)

 

Councillors who have not responded

Alan Waters / Amy Stammers / Andrew Boswell / Ash Haynes / Caroline Ackroyd / Charmain Woollard / Chris Herries / David Bradford / Denise Carlo / Gail Harris / James Wright / Jo Henderson / Judith Brociek-Coulton / Judith Lubbock (Lord Mayor) / Kevin Barker / Marion Maxwell / Matthew Packer / Mike Sands / Mike Stonard / Neil Blunt / Patrick Manning / Paul Kendrick / Ralph Gayton / Roger Ryan / Sally Button / Simeon Jackson / Stephen Little / Sue Sands / Tim Jones

 

 

Norwich City Council Skate Ban – Initial Proposal 25th June 2014

Read here: REP11CabinetSkateboardByelawFINAL

 

Norwich City Council Skate Ban – Revised Proposal 24th November 2014

Read here: Byelaw to manage skateboarding in the city

 

The correspondence…

7th November 2014 – Open Letter NCC1 sent from LLSB to:

Leader of the Council: Brenda Arthur – b.arthur@cllr.norwich.gov.uk / Lord Mayor of Norwich: Judith Lubbock – j.lubbock@cllr.norwich.gov.uk / All Norwich City Council Councillors / MP for Norwich North: Chloe Smith – contact@chloesmith.org.uk / MP for Norwich South: Simon Wright – office@simonwright.org.uk

read here: LLSB Norwich Council 1 all

 

13th November 2014 – Letter NCC2 from LLSB to:

All Norwich City Council Councillors

Read here: LLSB Norwich Council 2

 

18th November 2014 – Reply from Leader of the Council, Cllr Brenda Arthur:

Read here: Dear Louise

18th November 2014 – Letter NCC3 from Drug Store/Norwich Skate Community to:

Cllr Brenda Arthur / all Norwich City Council Councillors, Norwich MPs

Read here: LLSB Norwich Council – NCC3

 

18th November 2014 – Joint letter NCC4 from Drug Store/LLSB to:

Cllr Keith Driver (portfolio holder), Leader of the Council, Brenda Arthur / all Norwich City Council Councillors / Norwich MPs:

Read here: LLSB Norwich Council – NCC4

 

21st November 2014 – Joint letter NCC5 from Drug Store/LLSB to:

Cllr Keith Driver (portfolio holder), Leader of the Council, Brenda Arthur / all Norwich City Council Councillors

Read here: LLSB Norwich Council – NCC5

24th November 2014 – Joint letter NCC6 from Drug Store/LLSB to:

Cllr Keith Driver (portfolio holder)

Read here: LLSB Norwich Council – NCC6

 

Yep….. no replies from the Councillor responsible for the ban – Cllr Keith Driver. That’s how much he cares about people’s views.

 

Sign the petition here

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-norwich-skateboard-ban

 

Our 1st Letter:

Councillor Brenda Arthur – leader of Norwich City Council, all Councillors, Lord Mayor of Norwich, MP Norwich North, MP Norwich South

Norwich City Council

City Hall, St. Peter’s Street

Norwich NR2 1NH

 

7th November 2014

 

Dear Ms Arthur,

 

Norwich has a vibrant and healthy skateboarding scene spanning many years. It is greatly disappointing to hear that Norwich City Council is considering a ban of this important artistic and cultural expression under section 235 of the Local Government Act 1972, in a bid to prohibit skateboarding in the City Centre.

 

Our understanding is that though the ban stems from concerns over aspects of the war memorial, the by-law would cover an extensive part of the city centre including the memorial gardens, Hay Hill, Gaol Hill, The Forum, Castle Meadow, London Street, Exchange Street, St Andrews Street and the gardens at Norwich Castle.

 

Long Live Southbank feels there is a much more inclusive way of dealing with the matter rather than criminalising Norwich’s young people and visitors to the city. We are writing to express our strong support for the skateboarders of the city in their campaign against a proposed further extensive and heavy-handed crackdown on street skateboarding.

 

It is our experience that custodians of public spaces, and spaces used regularly by people, can severely misjudge public mood, views and opinion. We also experienced the avoidable financial and social cost that results from the failure to provide adequate public consultation. The solution is to work together with communities.

 

Our understanding is that there has been very little public consultation on the intended ban and very little engagement with the local skateboarding community. This results in a decision that affects the public but which has no input or direction from the public and, as representatives of the electorate, there is a responsibility for the council to ensure decisions are based on quantifiable data covering a broad a spectrum of sources and origins. A petition opposing the ban already features over 2,800 signatures.

We are advised by local skateboarders that the claims made by council members, and given to the press, have been untrue and have resulted in the vilification of young people who enjoy skateboarding. It was also noted that the online consultation was far from being properly democratic and limited public debate and censored people who support a relaxing of the ban from democratically voicing their opinion. Such methodology is in tune with the outdated nature of the ban itself.

 

We as a community and representatives of the community, should be working together on how we share our cities and make them accessible to all, and not on creating further barriers that makes them exclusive and inaccessible.Norwich has an opportunity to show it is continuing on its path to being a modern, progressive, people-friendly and welcoming city, and lead on its ability to understand inclusivity and culture, and create an example to others on how cities work with diverse communities and their needs.

 

Skateboarding supports more than just the physical act, it supports other creative practices such as filmmakers, photographers, visual designers and provides opportunities for other transferable skills and values. It promotes physical and social well-being and a much-needed alternative to gadgetry as it encourages young people to get outdoors, get physical, and explore their cities and local areas. Add to that that skateboarding is one of the fastest-growing physical activities in the world, particularly with girls and young women, and there is enough reason to suggest local authorities encourage these physical expressions as opposed to discourage and, as in this instance, criminalise them.

 

The Long Live Southbank campaign showed just how out of touch decision makers can be and how public mood can be misjudged. An unprecedented 150,000 people signed in support of keeping the Southbank skate spot. Our campaign table helped us engage directly with tens of thousands of people of all ages, all backgrounds and life experiences and from all over the world. Our public consultation provided an opportunity to translate the love, passion and creativity all skateboarders feel for their art into words that those in governance and establishment positions can understand.

 

Skateboarding was born in the streets and therefore is best suited to this context. When you are skating a purpose built skatepark, you are shunted out of the way of society and left only amongst fellow park users. This is uninspiring and limiting. Many councils who commission skateparks do not consider that skaters of advanced ability will share a space with families taking young children with scooters, this results in the times they can practice being severely restricted. The physical structures in skateparks only have limited ways of being skated, many of the obstacles will be very similar to those in other towns. There is little unique about most skateparks and, by fencing young people off, you lose many of the positive benefits that young people could gain from participating in an outdoors artform. Not everything has to be reduced to design and control and in addition, many skateparks, such as Eaton Park, are built outside of city centres making them inaccessible to many that cannot afford the time or cost to travel to them. This further alienates people and send a strong message of marginalisation.

 

Conversely, when you are skating in the street, you are able to interact with your surroundings in a far freer and more natural way. You learn about your city, move through it. Through skateboarding you open your eyes to all of the architecture and the possible ways of skating it. It is a fantastic, mind-broadening way to look at a city.

 

Sadly there is still an element of those in decision-making positions who will unjustifiably vilify skateboarding and discriminate against skateboarders. At Southbank we have fostered a highly positive relationship between the public and skaters. People gain from watching people skate and the way skaters reinterpret architecture. Street skateboarding can and should be used as a way of uniting people in an area, rather than dividing them and encouraging and breeding an attitude of resentment.

 

We do recognise that there are areas where skateboarding is inappropriate, such as Memorial Gardens and the War Memorial itself, we believe that the bulk of the skate scene is already in agreement about this, and local skaters are making efforts to educate those who don’t understand the implications of skating in these spots. It would be wholly unfair to generalise and project the acts of individuals on to an entire community, and to punish the majority of skaters who wish to explore and get to know their city in an exciting and forward looking way, due to the actions of a minority.

 

We strongly advise you to enter into a conversation with the local skateboarding community about how to move forward positively. Running consultations which dismiss a huge bulk of opinion as invalid will not help move towards a positive solution, or do anything to help the disillusionment with the political system that many young (and older) people feel. If the discussion is to be positive, both sides must go into it open-mindedly. If you took the time to enter discussions with the local skateboarders, you would find highly open minded and progressive thinking. We urge you to review your plans and enter into a positive dialogue with them.

 

If Norwich is to be at the forefront of progressive and inclusive cities and be part of how communities evolve in the way they engage and interact, and not be regressive and exclusive, then it must not waste this opportunity. All too often we hear about the marginalisation of young people and the messaging that young people are somehow disinterested and disengaged and lethargic and inactive. Long Live Southbank showed that this image couldn’t be further from the truth. The Norwich skate scene are showing that they are equally as passionate about their city, their surroundings, their culture, and their expression. We encourage Norwich City Council to recognise and support this and be part of the solution, and not the problem.

 

Yours sincerely,

Long Live Southbank

 

Proposed exclusion area:

 

skateboardingmaps

Initial proposed area and updated proposed area – Norwich Skaters and LLSB oppose ANY by-law and criminalisation of skateboarding regardless of area

 

Pro skater and LLSB Member Chewy Cannon added these words of support

My name’s Chewy (Lewis) Cannon, born and raised in Norfolk, Great Yarmouth. I’ve been skateboarding for 18 years and the last 8 have been professionally. As part of the LLSB campaign and as part of the public I can only see sense in leaving a growing organic sport alone so it can add to the substance of a growing city!!

Community cities and towns are built on embracing new and expressive art forms and it would be a shame to deny such a growing sport and art such as skateboarding. If we start to say no to public space being used by the public then we have a real problem in the works and this need to be addressed ASAP, and skateboarding is not a crime, so maybe the city council need to rethink and let people remain creative within their city.

Having the space for myself when I was young gave me the opportunity to fulfil a dream that would have seemed impossible without free public space to use and be free within. So I feel like we should fight for the right to let others have the same path if they wish and not be denied freedom of choice.

Spex wallride in Norwich. Image by Lee Kirby

Leis ‘Spex’ Ross wallride in Norwich. Image by Lee Kirby

 

Our 2nd letter to all Norwich City Councillors on 13th November 2014:

Dear Norwich City Councillors,

 

Further to our open letter to the Leader of the Council, we wanted to extend our letter on the proposed ban on skateboarding to all Norwich City Councillors.

 

The letter is attached and you can view it and updates and responses here at our website;

http://www.llsb.com/llsb-open-letter-to-norwich-city-councils-proposed-skate-ban/

 

We also encourage you to read our Cultural and Heritage Assessment Report which highlights just how important and influential British Street Skateboarding is on an international scale;

http://www.llsb.com/report/

 

We noted Cllr Keith Driver’s comment that ‘London did not allow skateboarders to skate down Whitehall or on the Cenotaph’ in response to our letter and we would like to provide a reply to give context and perspective.

 

London is a vast city with huge possibilities for street skateboarding which is why it is a mecca for skateboarders from across the world. Purely based on size and number of structures, Norwich and London are not comparable as landscapes and opportunities.

 

So as not to be misunderstood, though we recognise the reality that no structure is infinite and is subject to many forms of wear and tear and erosion, we do not condone the deliberate misuse of structures and objects such as the war memorial. A collaborative solution is possible and we shouldn’t reduce the issue to an unrealistic comparative.

 

In addition, we are presently in multiple channels of dialogue regarding the future of skateboarding, cities, public spaces, young people, art and culture, and how they work together, which will further highlight the regressive and archaic method being suggested by Norwich City Council in terms of how these things work together in an ever evolving world. We welcome Norwich to become part of those conversations alongside London, Bristol, Barcelona and countries such as Denmark who show a real ability to be open and inclusive and lead by example.

 

Though the public space we successfully campaigned for is in London, our 150,000 members are from all across the UK and beyond. We operate as a local, national and global community which is why this matter is important to us. We are your residents as well as your neighbours and visitors.

 

Skateboarding is a global scene and network and you should not be under the impression that this is London telling Norwich what to do – it is a progressive, diverse and inclusive way of thinking that has become a vessel and platform for the public to be able to express views and opinions to decision makers.

 

We have shown what positive outcomes can be achieved when people engage in dialogue and conversations. Something you would think would be first on the agenda, but is sadly lacking in decision making – which is why we instigated a return to prioritising discussion and hope people will take from the positive results from our example.

 

It is worth noting that not only are over 3,000 people actively engaged by signing the petition to oppose a ban, the mere fact that this issue has already had significant publicity is already a deterrent to anyone who may have considered the war memorial. Authorities and governance should be looking at understanding and encouraging physical activities such as skateboarding and BMX riding – led by the people who do them. Generalising and stereotyping will not provide a sustainable long-term solution, it will serve to create further division and problems.

 

The solution is not to put criminalisation ahead of conversation and we truly hope Norwich will set an example by taking the lead in working together with its communities and cultures to find a symbiotic outcome that everyone can benefit from.

LLSB

 

Ollie Smith - Frontside 180

Ollie Smith frontside 180 in Norwich. Image by Lee Kirby

 

Our 3rd  letter to all Norwich City Councillors on 18th November 2014:

Councillor Brenda Arthur, all Councillors, MP Norwich South, MP Norwich North

City Hall, St. Peter’s Street

Norwich NR2 1NH

 

Ref: NCC3

18th November 2014

 

 

Dear Cllr Arthur,

 

I have just read your letter and it has reinforced my opinion on this matter.

 

1. NOBODY wants the memorial to be skated or damaged. We are in full agreement with this, as we have clearly stated from the beginning. However, the ban area cover a larger area and this is where we take issue.

 

2. Skateparks are not an alternative to street skateboarding for many people. Skateparks provide an alternative venue but are not a replacement as was agreed during the consultation process for Eaton park. All those who spent 7 or 8 years going to those meetings were aware that street skating would still occur.

 

3. Myself and Lewis Ross both offered to help with the re-design of the memorial garden in order to skate-proof it. We were literally laughed at! I’m aware there are lots of rules around what can be done with a listed monument but to make no attempt to take us up on this offer says a lot about the way the council view young people.

 

4. You mention there being skateboard facilities in many areas but, with the exception of the concrete park at Eaton, these are all terrible and mostly dilapidated. None of these other parks were built by real skatepark designers or with any input from local skateboarders and as such are unused and in most cases unusable. A perfect example is the Heathgate Park, an ideal area completely wasted due to poor facilities. Also, as I have said many times, parks are not the answer

 

5. The Eaton skatepark is good but often overrun by children with all manner of toys (scooters, trikes, radio controlled cars, mountain bikes etc etc) which is not what it was built for. Some of these children are very young and accompanied by protective parents who become aggressive towards skateboarders who they see as “in the way”.

 

6. I also feel I should point out that the consultation process for skateparks is in itself a flawed one. For instance we were not given any other viable option for a location so Eaton was the only “choice”, secondly we were only given 4 options to choose from (because only 3 legitimate contractors submitted plans) and of those 4 options, 3 were completely wrong and did not fulfil the brief at all. The end result is what you see at Eaton today – a good park, but not one that was designed or built by the community it is there for. A far cheaper and more satisfying solution to providing facilities would be to simply give an area over to the community and let the design and build their own park. I can provide many example of the success of these areas in other places if you would like to see them? If this approach was taken at the multiple sites of bad skateparks around Norwich then we’d really have something great, and at a small fraction of the cost of the existing facilities

 

Yours sincerely,

  

Sam Avery

Drug Store

Our 4th letter to all Norwich City Councillors on 18th November 2014:

Councillor Keith Driver – Neighbourhoods and Community Safety portfolio holder, Leader of the Council, all Councilors, MP Norwich South, MP Norwich North

City Hall, St. Peter’s Street

Norwich NR2 1NH

 

Ref: NCC4

18th November 2014

 

 

Dear Cllr Driver, Cllr Arthur and all Norwich City Councillors,

 

In relation to the proposed ban on skateboarding and other social activities under section 235 of the Local Government Act 1972, and in light of the letter from Cllr Brenda Arthur received today, there are a number of factors that cause us great concern about this matter, and we have set them out in this letter. This is in addition to the response sent in the letter reference NCC3 sent earlier today.

 

1. Denial of Honest Democratic Representation and Process

It is our understanding that the Norwich City Council Labour group is intending to stick together in order to push this proposal through by ‘majority vote’ despite individual opinions, and despite public opinion being clearly opposed to the ban.

The seeming ‘political party before public opinion’ behaviour that appears to be being exorcised is deeply worrying.

Is this your idea of democracy – a handful of individuals forcing their view on the majority who DO NOT support their view? Do you recognise the irony in your alleged intention to protect the war memorial dedicated to those who fought for our freedom by creating a by-law that removes freedom?

 

2. Inadequate, Flawed and Misleading Consultation Process

The portfolio holder, and supporters of the ban, have not provided a clear and accessible consultation process and failed in engaging relevant stakeholders and the public in a matter that will ultimately affect them in a legal capacity. This failing has led to the local skateboarding community providing information and consultation themselves resulting in a significant opposition from the public to the proposed ban.

No contact has been made with the Norwich skate scene by the councillors supporting the ban, despite claims to the contrary made by them.

General public consultation has been severely lacking resulting in the public been misinformed and without a clear understanding of the issues involved.

Independent polls show the public do not support a ban.

The portfolio holder has not sought to understand skateboarding culture – the fastest growing activity among young people.

 

3. Misleading and Distorting Information

The councillors supporting the ban have used the war memorial and war veterans as emotional collateral for their campaign to gather public support without providing fact-based supportive evidence for claims against skateboarders.

This is evident in the panel discussion held by Mustard TV, aired on Thurs 6th November, at which no councillor made themselves available to attend.

Leader of the Council, Brenda Arthur stated in the June report that she had ‘seen people on the corner of City Hall actually been nearly knocked over by skateboarders’.

The claims made by supporters of the ban have been misleading and are unsupported there is no evidence of the claims in the public domain.

Claims that damage to the war memorial have been made by skateboarders are unsubstantiated and no qualified independent survey and analysis has been provided by Norwich City Council.

 

4. Dismissal of Public Opinion and Opposition

The Norwich City Council website states ‘Norwich City Council welcomes petitions and recognises they are one way that people can let us know their concerns.’

Yet you appear to be actively ignoring your own remit and worse still, ignoring the concerns of people you say you wish to ‘recognise’.

The petition opposing the ban on skating in Norwich has gathered well in excess of 5,000 signatures in little over 2 weeks. The maximum number of signatures for petitions on the Norwich City Council website is 73 gathered over 2 months.

 

5.  Misrepresentation and Negative Propaganda and Attitude

It has been noted that certain councillors seem to find this matter humorous and are dealing with the skate community in a condescending manner and ridiculing and patronising us. This causes us great concern. Is decision making on behalf of the citizens and visitors of Norwich a laughing matter to them?

 

 

Requests:

Given the many claims set out in We request the portfolio holder for the ban, Councillor Keith Driver, and the Leader of the Council, Councillor Brenda Arthur, provide the following by no later than 1pm Friday the 21st November 2014:

 

  • All documents regarding complaints made to Norwich City Council since 2009 pertaining to skateboards, BMX, rollerblades, scooters whether in written or electronic communications.

 

  • All minutes of council meetings relating to the proposed ban on skateboards.
  • All surveys, studies, tests and analysis on the war memorial relating to refurbishment, repair, and relating skateboarders or similar activity.
  • All documents on public consultation relating to the proposed ban.

 

Given the reply received today from Cllr Arthur which sets out some the items detailed in this letter, and given the high profile of this matter and national attention it is galvanising, and given the decision meeting scheduled for 25th November, we will assume these items will be easily accessible and we won’t be made to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

Proposed solution:

In the meantime we propose a simple solution which save time and public money; The cancelling and discontinuing of the proposed by-law to ban skateboarders and other similar social physical activities from Norwich City Centre, to be replaced by the implementation of a fine of £100 for anyone seen skating the war memorial. We seriously doubt that anyone has skated the war memorial but this fine will be a sufficient deterrent to anyone who would ever contemplate it.

 

We look forward to your response and the hope a mutual resolution can be achieved that does not require the draconian measures of bringing in by-laws and legal restrictions to the citizens of Norwich, and in particular, young people who Norwich City Council should be seeking to engage, welcome and inspire instead of ostracise, exclude and marginalise.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sam Avery                   Paul Richards

Drug Store                   On behalf of Long Live Southbank

 

From: “Cllr Sands, Mike” m.sands@cllr.norwich.gov.uk
Date: 19 November 2014 at 14:09
Subject: RE: Open Letter from Long Live Southbank in regard to proposed skateboarding ban in Norwich

Hello Brenda,

Read the letter… what tosh!  As advised no response.  However many many, months ago when this all blew up and people were getting aerated about it and emails were sent to councillors from shall we say ‘interested’ parties, I did reply to one… may have even been this person though equally may not… What I did offer was to sit down over a coffee at Café Marzano (I offered to pay) and have them outline their concerns… no promises or anything on my part.  I did suggest that the real motivation was the ‘desire to be seen’ skateboarding in the city and to have potential spectators either amongst the skateboarding community and that there were possibly other options that didn’t involve public buildings or public spaces that could be damaged or involve potential collisions with the public (pointing out that I’d had a very near collision outside city hall and I had witnessed a young mum with a pusher narrowly escape a similar unguided aerial skateboard collision) and that if they were ‘so’ keen perhaps contacting City Hall and opening up a conversation and dialogue was the way to go….

…Never got a response. Not a squeak.

 

Mike

 

Read our post on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/LongLiveSouthbank/posts/594584147337239

Watch local veteran and skaters discuss the ban (surprise, surprise no one from the council supporting the ban was ‘available’)

http://www.mustardtv.co.uk/episode/this-week-7/

Southbank is Saved!

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History

After 17 months, we can announce Southbank is finally saved – a massive thank you to all who stood with us. Happy reading…

JOINT STATEMENT:
LONG LIVE SOUTHBANK AND SOUTHBANK CENTRE SECURE
FUTURE OF UNDERCROFT FOR SKATEBOARDING AND URBAN ACTIVITIES

Following talks that have taken place over the last three months, Long Live Southbank and Southbank Centre are delighted to have reached an agreement that secures the Queen Elizabeth Hall undercroft as the long-term home of British skateboarding and the other urban activities for which it is famous.

The agreement has been formalised in a binding planning agreement with Lambeth Council. In the agreement, Southbank Centre agrees to keep the undercroft open for use without charge for skateboarding, BMX riding, street writing and other urban activities.

On the basis of the protections secured by the planning agreement, Southbank Centre and Long Live Southbank have withdrawn their respective legal actions in relation to the undercroft. These include Southbank Centre’s challenge to the registration of the undercroft as an asset of community value, Long Live Southbank’s application for village green status for the undercroft, and a judicial review of Lambeth Council’s decision to reject the village green application.

Long Live Southbank is pleased to support Southbank Centre’s Festival Wing project for the improvement of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery, on the basis that the plans will now no longer include any redevelopment within the skate area of the Queen Elizabeth Hall undercroft.

Cllr Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council said; “I’m pleased that Lambeth Council was able to work with both sides and find an imaginative solution to resolve this. Shared public space in London is precious and Southbank Centre is a great asset to the country’s cultural life. This agreement is a sensible way of protecting both and we can all now look forward.”

In addition…
Long Live Southbank would like to thank all our supporters and we would like to thank the Mayor of London for his intervention and Southbank Centre for its constructive approach to the negotiations that have achieved this outcome.

PRESS RELEASE – Judge Lang calls for Government intervention in Long Live Southbank Village Green Court Hearing

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Photograph of the Undercroft by Sam Ashley (http://www.samashley.com/)

Photograph of the Undercroft by Sam Ashley (http://www.samashley.com/)

A dramatic twist was delivered at the Royal Courts of Justice today in the campaign to preserve Southbank Undercroft. In a most unusual move on what was to be the final day of Long Live Southbank’s judicial review hearing at the High Court today, and plainly in reaction to the difficult issues raised by the case, Mrs Justice Lang adjourned the hearing for a number of months. The decision to was made so that she can formally invite the Government to participate for the first time in the proceedings.

Judge Lang will invite the Government to appear at the hearing by way of a barrister to explain to her the Government’s position on a series of issues raised by Long Live Southbank’s legal team This includes its view on the interpretation of the restrictions on village green registration contained in the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013, as to the particular circumstances in relation to the Southbank Undercroft and as to the application of the Human Rights Act.

Long Live Southbank and the Open Spaces Society take the position that the interpretation of the restrictions which is argued for by Lambeth and the Southbank Centre would lead to absurd and unintended results. Long Live Southbank is delighted that the court will now have the opportunity to examine their concerns in detail.

 

For more information, please contact Long Live Southbank’s lawyer, Simon Ricketts of King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin:
Email: Simon.Ricketts@eu.kwm.com
Tel: 020 7111 2768

 

For images and general enquiries about Long Live Southbank please contact:
Email:  info@llsb.com

 

Notes to Editors:
Video
LLSB campaign film ‘The Bigger Picture’

 

Information on Long Live Southbank
Long Live Southbank is the official non-profit organisation set up to preserve and protect London’s unique and world renowned Southbank Undercroft and to represent its diverse creative community of skateboarders, BMXers, artists and visitors.

LLSB was started by the local skateboarders to give them a voice and raise awareness about the threat of the destruction of a creative community who have turned a dead space into a thriving visual hub for 40 years.

 

Open Spaces Society
The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 as the Commons Preservation Society. It is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. Its founders and early members included John Stuart Mill, Lord Eversley, Sir Robert Hunter and Octavia Hill. The last two founded the National Trust in 1895 along with Canon Rawnsley.

Over the last century the society has preserved commons for the enjoyment of the public. It has also been active in protecting the historical and vital rights-of-way network through England and Wales.

 

LLSB attend London Assembly Planning Committee – Thurs 10 October 2013, 2pm
In October, Long Live Southbank was invited to attend a meeting of the London Assembly’s Planning Committee to highlight the plight of the Undercroft and discuss the importance of the Localism Act’s Assets of Community Value scheme. After a positive and constructive discussion, Assembly Member and Committee Chair, Nicky Gavron, told LLSB, “You’ve had a lot of support around the table from members. In fact, you’ve had total support from members.”

 

Stats and Facts
100,000+ LLSB members
40,000+ objections to planning application (the highest number in UK history)

 

Quotes
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson:
“”The skate park is the epicentre of UK skateboarding and is part of the cultural fabric of London.
“This much-loved community space has been used by thousands of young people over the years.
“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”

 

Nicky Gavron – Assembly Member and Planning Committee Chair
“You’ve had a lot of support around the table from members, in fact, you’ve had total support from members”

 

Tony Hawk – Professional Skateboarder
“Preserve the integrity of Southbank, a sanctuary for skateboarders, and an important part of London history”
“It’s truly an historic feature of London street culture”

 

The campaign is been supported by high profile people from across the art forms such as;
Lauren Lavern, Russell Brand, Arlene Phillips CBE, Bonnie Greer OBE, Mike Tyson. Frank Skinner, Damien Hirst, Kate Nash, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Spike Jonze, Katy B, Tony Hawk, Doc Brown, Fred Durst, Lucy Lui. Rita Ora, Alex Day, Derren Brown, Major Lazer, Patrick J Adams

 

 

PRESS RELEASE – Lambeth Council upholds Southbank Undercroft as Asset of Community Value

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On the 28th February Lambeth Council said it “confirmed it is upholding the decision to list the Undercroft at Southbank Centre as an Asset of Community Value. Southbank Centre appealed the listing, granted in July 2013, but following an internal review, Lambeth Council’s decision stands”. The decision comes despite the Southbank Centre’s QC turning up at the review hearing to which Long Live Southbank were not invited.

 

The Lambeth review letter revealed that Southbank Centre’s lawyers used the analogy of the Undercroft being equivalent to the “children’s play area in the beer garden of a pub”, to which Lambeth responded as “not a persuasive comparison”. One of Southbank Centre’s four main claims, which were overturned by Lambeth, was that ‘The use of the Undercroft does not benefit the “local community”’. This further serves to indicate the total lack of understanding that there still is within the Southbank Centre in relation to the special role of the Undercroft.

 

Long Live Southbank campaigner, Ben Stewart, said;
“We applaud Lambeth for upholding their initial decision to recognise Southbank Undercroft as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act. But we are however, very disappointed that the Southbank Centre CEO, Alan Bishop, has indicated that they will again be appealing Lambeth’s decision and that, unlike hundreds of thousands of people including the Mayor of London, the Southbank Centre does not recognise the significance of the Undercroft and its importance to the local and wider community”.

 

In September 2013 Mr Bishop tried to stop one of the fundamental aspects of Southbank culture by attempting to cancel a skate demonstration. The demos, which have been a regular feature at Southbank skate spot since 1976, are where people of all abilities get to watch, show and practice tricks, alongside professionals from all over the world who come to pay homage to the internationally renowned skate spot.

 

Despite its present Festival Wing scheme being withdrawn, the Southbank Centre has refused Long Live Southbank’s request to also withdraw the threat of closing the Undercroft as detailed in their ‘unilateral undertaking’ dated 25th October 2013, which states that on the 31st December 2014 ‘the Owner shall close the QEH Undercroft and terminate its use for the Permitted Uses with immediate effect’.

 

These actions go in stark contradiction to the public statement issued on the 5th February by the Chairman of the Southbank Centre, Rick Haythornthwaite, who said; “Our battle has never been with the skateboarders, whom we have welcomed and guaranteed a future on our site”. In recent letters, Mr Haythornthwaite has asked Long Live Southbank to attend a meeting and forge a ‘constructive relationship’ while refusing to acknowledge or recognise the future of the Undercroft.

 

On the 6th and 7th March Long Live Southbank will be presenting their case at the Royal Courts of Justice to register Southbank Undercroft as a Village Green. The case revolves around the legal interpretation of restrictions introduced by the Government last year on the right to apply to register village greens. It raises issues which have not yet been tested by the courts and the Open Spaces Society, a national amenity group, is also participating in the case, supporting LLSB’s stance.

 

Street skateboarding is the fastest growing urban activity, spreading globally, and the Southbank Centre has shown it is out of touch with street culture.

 

For images and interviews please contact:
Email:  info@llsb.com
 
Notes to Editors:
To read Lambeth’s review in full click here:

 

Video
LLSB campaign film ‘The Bigger Picture’

 

Information on Long Live Southbank
Long Live Southbank is the official non-profit organisation set up to preserve and protect London’s unique and world renowned Southbank Undercroft and to represent its diverse creative community of skateboarders, BMXers, artists and visitors.

 

LLSB was started by the local skateboarders to give them a voice and raise awareness about the threat of the destruction of a creative community who have turned a dead space into a thriving visual hub for 40 years.

 

Open Spaces Society
The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 as the Commons Preservation Society. It is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. Its founders and early members included John Stuart Mill, Lord Eversley, Sir Robert Hunter and Octavia Hill. The last two founded the National Trust in 1895 along with Canon Rawnsley.

 

Over the last century the society has preserved commons for the enjoyment of the public. It has also been active in protecting the historical and vital rights-of-way network through England and Wales.

 

LLSB attend London Assembly Planning Committee – Thurs 10 October 2013, 2pm
In October, Long Live Southbank was invited to attend a meeting of the London Assembly’s Planning Committee to highlight the plight of the Undercroft and discuss the importance of the Localism Act’s Assets of Community Value scheme. After a positive and constructive discussion, Assembly Member and Committee Chair, Nicky Gavron, told LLSB, “You’ve had a lot of support around the table from members. In fact, you’ve had total support from members.”

 

Stats and Facts
100,000+ LLSB members
40,000+ objections to planning application (the highest number in UK history)

 

Quotes
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson:
“”The skate park is the epicentre of UK skateboarding and is part of the cultural fabric of London.
“This much-loved community space has been used by thousands of young people over the years.
“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”

 

Nicky Gavron – Assembly Member and Planning Committee Chair
“You’ve had a lot of support around the table from members, in fact, you’ve had total support from members”

 

Tony Hawk – Professional Skateboarder
“Preserve the integrity of Southbank, a sanctuary for skateboarders, and an important part of London history”
“It’s truly an historic feature of London street culture”

 

The campaign is been supported by high profile people from across the art forms such as;
Lauren Lavern, Russell Brand, Arlene Phillips CBE, Bonnie Greer OBE, Mike Tyson. Frank Skinner, Damien Hirst, Kate Nash, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Spike Jonze, Katy B, Tony Hawk, Doc Brown, Fred Durst, Lucy Lui. Rita Ora, Alex Day, Derren Brown, Major Lazer, Patrick J Adams

Press Release: Mayor of London Boris Johnson speaks out in support of preserving London’s iconic skate spot

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Press Release: Mayor of London Boris Johnson speaks out in support of preserving London’s iconic skate spot

Long Live Southbank is delighted by Boris Johnson’s intervention, as London Mayor, to add his voice to the campaign to preserve the Southbank Undercroft skate spot. The Mayor has indicated that the Southbank Centre’s Festival Wing redevelopment should not be at the detriment of the undercroft skate spot, which he stated should be retained in its current position. Given his ability to direct refusal of the application were the Southbank Centre to continue with it, this is a huge and decisive step in maintaining one of London’s most iconic cultural landmarks.

The Mayor’s statement comes one week after hundreds of skateboarders made the journey from Southbank to Lambeth Town Hall to deliver a record-breaking 27,286 objections to the Southbank Centres controversial Festival Wing plans, in a bid to halt what has become the most unpopular planning application in UK history.

The Mayor said:

“”The skate park is the epicentre of UK skateboarding and is part of the cultural fabric of London.

“This much-loved community space has been used by thousands of young people over the years.

“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”

For over 40 years skateboarders have been a resident community at London’s Southbank, creating one of the most recognised creative spaces along the Thames. Now also used by other forms of street culture such as BMXers and graffiti artists, it is internationally renowned, and the oldest surviving skate spot in the world.

In April this year the Southbank Centre, which administrates the site, announced a redevelopment plan which would see the skate space turned into commercial retail units. Since the announcement over 67,000 people signed a petition against the destruction of this iconic landmark, and over 100,000 people have joined campaign group Long Live Southbank to commit their support for its preservation.

LLSB now call on the Southbank Centre to:

– Withdraw its current planning applications for the Festival Wing and a proposed “replacement” skateboarding area under Hungerford Bridge

– Work with LLSB and all other users of the undercroft to guarantee now its longterm future.

– Withdraw its challenge to Lambeth Council’s designation of the undercroft as an asset of community value

– Withdraw its resistance to LLSB’s claim that the undercoft be registered as a village green, so as to protect it for future generations

– Withdraw its threat that it would close the undercroft regardless of the Festival Wing scheme

END

Note to editors:
– The campaign is been supported by high profile people from across the art forms such as; Lauren Lavern, Russell Brand, Arlene Phillips CBE, Bonnie Greer OBE, Mike Tyson. Frank Skinner, Damien Hirst, Kate Nash, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Spike Jonze, Katy B, Tony Hawk, Doc Brown, Fred Durst, Lucy Lui. Rita Ora, Alex Day.

– On 4th July 2014 Long Live Southbank delivered over 14,000 individual objections to Lambeth Council. On the same day the Southbank Centre asked Lambeth Council for more time.

On the 25th of September the Southbank Centre sent out a public email titled ‘Update: Southbank Open Forum’. This email contained a number of false claims about both the Open Forum and Long Live Southbank. We have since contacted them twice to retract these claims and are disappointed to have received no response. In the interest of public transparency, this is our letter to them dated Friday 26th of September.

LLSB-SBC-15 Alan Bishop

LLSB on Crowdfunding for the Undercroft

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Photograph from Open Space by Marc Vallee - http://tumblr.marcvallee.co.uk/

Photograph from Open Space Forum by Marc Vallee – http://tumblr.marcvallee.co.uk/

It would be inappropriate for LLSB, which represents over 60,000 members, to agree to any crowd funding project that requires a commitment to the concept of a replacement space or that places the onus of finding funding on Undercroft users. The funds are required to fill a self-inflicted funding gap, based on the financial requirements of the latest in a line of flawed Southbank Centre development plans. Any claim of ‘agreement’ by unidentified ‘skaters’ lacks credibility.

The idea of crowd funding was first suggested back in April, at a meeting set up in response to the Festival Wing development. Then the proposed figure stood at £10 million but this was flat out rejected as ‘impossible’ by members of the Southbank Centre senior management, who refused to change any aspect of their plans despite widespread criticism. The volume of objections to the Festival Wing scheme have forced them to take a step back and now they are seemingly willing to accept crowd funding, since they have failed to secure funding of their own. The sudden expectation that the public be responsible for funding their flawed, already partially publicly funded proposals to the extent to £17m. This is a blatant last gasp attempt to shift the blame for the failings of this ill-thought out development plan on to the ‘skaters’.

The Southbank Centre also continue to suggest that the Undercroft will need to be closed for the duration of the development, and use this to try to force skaters to agree to the principle of a contrived skate park, yet they have provided no evidence that this is the case. Unquestionably, if they were forced to keep the Undercroft open, either by the success of our Village Green application or as a section 106 condition, they would find a way to work around the space.

See here for a history of troubled developments along the South Bank

Desks comparitive graphic final
This morning the Southbank Centre issued a statement revealing their proposed plans to replace the undercroft skateboard, BMX and street arts space located underneath Queen Elizabeth Hall with a new location underneath the Hungerford Bridge – a scheme that did not feature in their original proposals and is subject to a separate planning application.

These plans have again appeared before any current users of the undercroft have been consulted. The Southbank Centre has admitted their error in the original Festival Wing plans was not consulting the users of the undercroft, yet they are readily making exactly the same mistake once again and trying to force their plans on the public.

The timing of the release ahead of the Festival Wing Open Space Forum this weekend, where the highly criticised Festival Wing scheme is to be discussed, is typical of the tactics we have come to expect from the Southbank Centre, who are keen to distract people from their beleaguered plans.

The conversation which should be taking place is the preservation of the iconic undercroft and its forty years of history. This is what tens of thousands of Londoners and visitors from further afield have signed up to support, and this is a conversation the Southbank Centre are refusing to have. They continue to ignore this message which has galvanized unprecedented public support.

Our position remains the same; any relocation discussion at this stage is premature. At present there are ongoing legal attempts to preserve the undercroft and our campaign continues. In this position we are supported by over 50,000 members, over 61,000 petition signatories and over 14,000 individuals who objected to the planning application.

The LLSB Team