Last March, the Southbank Centre unveiled plans to convert the iconic Undercroft skate park into retail shops. A £120 million redevelopment is planned, and the skate point would be relocated beneath the Hungerford Bridge.
The Undercroft is known as the birthplace of British skateboarding – 40 years old, it is the oldest and still existing skateboarding area in the world. It is an open, cultural space, which became home not only to skateboarders, but also to bike riders and graffiti artists. It became so naturally, organically, without any government intervention or organization.
In order to keep this space, its history and cultural significance, a campaign was born: Long Live Southbank. A petition was sent to Boris Johnson, the London mayor; it has been signed by over 67,000 people up to now – you can sign it here. This month, he spoke out in support of preserving it:
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.”
To encourage people to get involved, they have released an educational film showing the place’s history, the 9 month campaign and what they believe to be the true story of its intended destruction:
The campaigners are asking the replacement planning to be withdrawn, and the park long term future to be guaranteed. In their own words: “Long Live Southbank is committed to the protection of the Undercroft that has given birth to a rare artistic creativity and community, which continues to flourish. Join the Long Live Southbank campaign, support culture over commerce and community over capital”.