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
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.