- Text by HUCK HQ
After 17 months of activism, the Long Live Southbank campaign has won its battle to keep the Undercroft skate spot at Southbank, London, a free location for skaters and BMXers.
A joint statement from both The Southbank Centre, who had made plans to convert the area into retail units, and Long Live Southbank was released on the latter’s Facebook today, September 18 at 4pm.
Here’s what it says:
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On the basis of the protections secured by the planning agreement, Southbank Centre and Long Live Southbank have withdrawn their respective legal actions in relation to the undercroft.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.”
The victory, against the odds, has already inspired many young people into activism and will be encouragement for other like-minded community campaigns that go after the big guys.
We made a video with LLSB spokesman Henry Edwards-Wood last year around the beginning of the campaign. Check it out below.