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Published May 11th 2013
Save the Southbank's Undercroft and Skateboard Park
Following on from the Royal Festival Hall's refurbishment in 2007, there are plans to transform the adjoining buildings that date from the late 1960s: The Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery. Unfortunately the iconic Southbank Skateboard Park sits below these structures and the skateboarding community is horrified to learn that it may lose its present home next year. It's not enough to suggest moving the site along the river to Hungerford Bridge; overwhelming support is for it to remain where it is and where it grew organically. The undercroft has been a skateboarding venue since the 1970s, as well as an impromptu outdoor art gallery for graffiti artists.
Long Live Southbank (Image Courtesy of longlivesouthank.com)
Long Live Southbank has applied to Lambeth council to list the space as a community asset and more than 25,000 signatures have so far been uploaded to an online petition to endorse the project. In addition a three-day event was created over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend to showcase the site's artistic and skating heritage and to endorse support for retaining the Skate Park in its current position.
Where else can you watch skateboarders, young and old, practising and perfecting their skills? And where else do graffiti artists have complete freedom to create works of art, such as these, that appeared during last summer's Olympic Games in response to some of our gold medallists?