Back in May the skateboarders at the centre of a concerted campaign to cling on to the undercroft area of the Southbank earmarked for redevelopment, looked to Lambeth Council to reassign the skatepark as a ‘community asset’ or as it’s now known, a ‘village green’.
The application got turned down by Lambeth Council this week in what must have been a fairly straightforward decision-making process: the Southbank isn’t a village, and now the Neighbourhood Festival has shut up shop, there’s considerably less ‘green’ around.
All attention is now fixed on the alternative accommodation Southbank is working with architects to realise under Hungerford Bridge.
The Evening Standard report of last night contains some tiresomely and predictably misinformed quotes from the ‘aggrieved’ parties ‘denied’ their space. In the report, 19 year old ‘professional skater’ Casper Brooks said:
“It sucks. This isn’t just where people skate, there’s so many people’s lives here.”
Yes Casper. And those lives will still exist a few hundred yards away if plans to develop a ‘skate-able space’ under Hungerford Bridge are accepted.
And, a 27 year old project manager from the City, James Fry said :
“They [the skaters] have had a natural place for culture and art for years, and they [Southbank] are disregarding it.
“You see how many people line up here to see skateboarding; if this becomes another Starbucks, it’s just going to be another part of faceless London”
They are not disregarding the natural place for culture and art James, and there won’t be a starbucks either. Southbank want to develop it and they’re offering an additional space a few hundred yards under Hungerford Bridge.
And Greg Farmer from Elephant and Castle ‘added’:
“It’s a great community here. If we are not skating here, we are going to be skating somewhere else where we are not wanted. The public love it; there’s always people watching.”
That’s right. That’s why the new proposals for underneath Hungerford Bridge include viewing platforms for the public. See them in all their loveliness in this blog post.
Southbank confirmed that following the decision by Lambeth Council, they would be asking the skaters to get behind the alternative skateable space under Hungerford Bridge.