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Southbank makes legal vow to keep skateboarding

London’s Southbank Centre has signed a legal agreement promising to guarantee the future of skateboarding on the prominent riverside site

The unilateral undertaking commits the prestigious arts centre to provide a free, permanent area for skateboarding, BMX-ing, graffiti writing and parkour underneath Hungerford Bridge from December next year.

The move follows a campaign by skateboarders against plans to relocate the existing skatepark from the Queen Elizabeth Hall undercroft to the nearby bridge.

In a statement the organization said the agreement had given skateboarding a ‘firm legal footing’ and improved the current situation ‘which doesn’t guarantee the skateboarders any rights in relation to the use of the existing undercroft.’

Southbank Centre chief executive Alan Bishop said: ‘We’ve consistently said that skateboarding is safe at Southbank Centre and this legal step provides further proof of our commitment.’

Danish outfit SNE Architects won a contest to design the new £1 million skatepark under Hungerford Bridge in October.  

The legal agreement comes four months after the Southbank Centre agreed to pause and reconsider Fielden Clegg Bradley Studio’s (FCBS) plans for the Brutalist structure amid criticism from Cabe.

Submitted for planned in May, FCBS’s 28,000m² Festival Wing project proposed a new glazed ‘liner’ building and semi-transparent sky pavilion above the Brutalist concrete complex.

The Southbank Centre was been granted extra time to review the £120 million scheme in July. It is understood the scheme will be considered for planning permission in early 2014.

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