A few years ago London’s South Bank undercroft skatepark was battling for its survival but now ‘the spiritual home of British skateboarding’ is set for a colossal expansion.
London’s City Hall has given the skating spot a £700,000 grant that will increase it by a third of its size, as well as installing improved lighting and restoring its concrete banks.
Says the Southbank Centre’s chief executive, Elaine Bedell: ‘The development of this space will give skaters and BMXers access to newly opened up, and restored, sections of the Undercroft whilst young people and schoolchildren from across the capital will benefit from a new fully accessible arena for diverse creative and learning activities.’
As well as improving the existing skate ramps, funding will be used to create a new creative education centre inside the Southbank Centre, which owns the space beneath Queen Elizabeth Hall – a mecca for skating in the capital.
It’s a major victory for campaign group long Live Southbank, which teamed up with the Southbank Centre for the funding application. Just three years ago the group won a 17-month-long campaign to preserve the skate park, which was mooted for redevelopment as shops and restaurants.