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Southbank agrees to drop skate-park relocation plans

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The Southbank Centre has agreed to drop controversial proposals to move a renowned skateboarder hangout as part of any future redevelopment plans for the Brutalist arts centre

Bosses at the Lambeth complex withdrew proposals for a £120million Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios-designed overhaul in February this year after London Mayor Boris Johnson said he would not support any redevelopment that didn’t allow skateboarders to contune to use the building’s undercroft area.

Under a deal announced today, skateboarder group Long Live Southbank has agreed to support the Southbank’s Festival Wing project to improve the complex’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery on the basis that the undercroft area - described as the home of British skateboarding - is protected.

Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios’ (FCBS) original plans called for the undercroft area to be converted into commercial space as part of a 28,000m² scheme including a glazed ‘liner’ building and a semi-transparent, box-like ‘sky pavilion’ above the Brutalist structure.

The Southbank argued that developing the undercroft area was key to the viability of its plans and proposed relocating the skatepark to a new site beneath Hungerford Bridge, some 120 metres away. It was to have been built to a design by Danish practice SNE Architects.

It has not commented on whether a revised version of the FCBS scheme will now proceed. Back in May it said a decision would not be taken until the end of the year.

Under today’s agreement, the Southbank said both sides in the controversy had agreed to cease a series of legal actions involving the site, including a challenge to the registration of the undercroft as an Asset of Community Value and wrangles over an unsuccessful attempt to register it as a Town or Village Green.

Lambeth Council leader Lib Peck said the agreement was a ‘sensible way’ to protect London’s shared public space and the Southbank Centre’s future.

Previous story (AJ 29.05.14)

FCBS’ Southbank revamp faces further delays - but repairs to begin

The Southbank Centre has said it will not make a decision on the proposed £120 million overhaul by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) until the end of this year 

The scheme was pulled from planning in February after London mayor Boris Johnson announced he would only support it if controversial plans to relocate the skate park from under the Brutalist landmark were dropped.

The latest delay comes as the centre revealed it is proceeding with a £24 million backlog of repairs and conservation work on the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery thanks to a £16.7 million grant from Arts Council England.

Overseen by FCBS, the project will be independent of the wider development which still needs ‘substantial funding’ to get it off the ground.

The Southbank Centre had wanted to transform the much-loved Queen Elizabeth Hall undercroft and skate park into commercial space – a contentious conversion which the institute argued was crucial to funding its ambitious ‘Festival Wing’ revamp of the 1967 riverside landmark.

FCBS’ 28,000m² plans – which proposed a glazed ‘liner’ building and a semi-transparent, box-like ‘sky pavilion’ above the Brutalist structure – involved relocating the skateboarders 120 metres away beneath Hungerford Bridge.

Rick Haythornthwaite, chairman of the Southbank Centre said he was ‘very grateful to Arts Council England’ for supporting the ‘urgent repair’ and maintenance of ‘the iconic 1960s buildings’.

He added: ‘This is an important step for the Southbank Centre following the delay to our Festival Wing scheme in February.

We still aim to create new space for our artistic and cultural programmes, once we have found a way through the substantial remaining funding challenge. This will enable us to meet the huge demand for our work following the refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall.’


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Readers' comments (1)

  • I guess the USA Embassy can go full steam ahead now. What a relief !

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