My First Planning Objection: Save Southbank Undercroft Skatepark!

This morning I submitted my first ever planning objection. It’s for Lambeth Borough Council about the plans to demolish the Southbank Undercroft Skatepark to replace it with yet more commercial outlets.

I’ve been promoting the savethesouthbank.com campaign for a few months now, mostly on facebook and reposting any article I find on it. It means alot to me even though I’ve never used it, only ever watched in jealous admiration of the skaters skills.

I’ve posted what I wrote below.

“I OBJECT to the reckless “INFILLING OF GROUND FLOOR UNDERCROFTS” and the destruction of 40 years of Street Culture by relocating the UNDERCROFT SKATEPARK to the area beneath Hungerford Bridge, known colloquially as “The Skateboard Graveyard”.

The Undercroft is Unique in British Skater Culture. It was originally colonised a forgotten, unwanted space back in the 70’s, decades before the BFI London IMAX supplanted “Cardboard City” nearby. It has been in continual use ever since as a free, consensual and self-regulated venue for successive generations of skaters, BMXers, graffiti artists, photographers, and performance artists.

It is a microcosm of the “Ideal Society” where everyone no matter their Age, Gender, or Social, Financial and Ethnic background are given an opportunity to participate. It has little of the anti-social behaviour mistakenly associated with urban sports; anyone who behaves in offensive or threatening manner are asked by the community to leave and take there agitprop or aggression elsewhere. You could call it an example of “The Big Society” In Action.

Over it’s four decades of existence some of the most World Renowned Skaters have graduated from this concrete training ground to International Infamy. It is recognised as one of the Best Unplanned Skate Parks in the whole of Europe: One of London’s most Significant Idiosyncratic Tourist Attractions generating visitors from every Continental Corner of the Globe.

I include below hyperlinks to two articles which give testimony to the Undercroft’s Vibrant Cultural Existence:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2013/may/11/skateboarders-fight-southbank-skate-park-closure-gallery?guni=Keyword:news-grid%20main-2%20(New%20Review)%20Pickable%20with%20editable%20override:Pickable%20with%20editable%20override:Position2

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/shutting-down-south-bank-skate-park

What is being proposed to replace it is a commercial travesty. Does Central London really need more restaurants, cafés or bars ? The Southbank Centre already has a magnificent food court, and a plethora of establishments in which to “Shop, Eat & Drink”. I’ve posted below an extract from their website showing the range of services available:

SHOP, EAT & DRINK

If you’re looking for a place to stop for refreshment while visiting Southbank Centre, you’re spoilt for choice.

Choose from the award winning family restaurant Giraffe, superb Italian and pizza restaurant Strada, ‘kaiten’ sushi bar style eating at YO! Sushi, the pan-Asian noodle restaurant wagamama and a superb choice offered at cafe EAT on Festival Riverside. Plus, as of this summer, mexican restaurant Wahaca have opened a new venue here – made out of eight shipping containers!

Alongside the walkway which leads to the Hungerford Bridge, Festival Terrace has several cafes and restaurants including South American restaurant Las Iguanas, and Belgian bakery Le Pain Quotidien .They are joined by Caffè Vergnano 1882, Feng Sushi and dim sum restaurant Ping Pong.

You can also get wines and spirits, draft beers, coffee, sandwiches and cakes from  the Queen Elizabeth Hall Bar & Café.

Within the Royal Festival Hall, Skylon offers a range of cocktails and an extensive wine list, as well as a modern European menu in stylish surroundings. There’s also the Riverside Terrace Café on Level 2 of the Royal Festival Hall, the Central Bar in the foyer and the award-winning restaurant Canteen, located on the re-landscaped Southbank Centre Square which offers an all-day dining menu of high quality British food at reasonable prices in a modern well-designed environment. Enjoy an eclectic range of food and drink throughout the day and night at Concrete, the new bar and cafe located in the Hayward Gallery, accompanied by a rotating programme of contemporary video works.

“For al fresco wining and dining this summer, visit Southbank Centre’s Central Bar Terrace – the perfect spot for a morning coffee, al fresco lunch or early evening cocktail, with glorious river views – or take the short climb to the new Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden designed by the Eden Project, where you can relax in the Garden Café with a coffee, pastry or foccacia.”

http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/shop-eat-drink

Is it really necessary to replace such an Unique Sporting Destination with more Generic High Street Brands. If this project is approved and implemented it will be the biggest Act of Cultural Vandalism since the Euston Arch was decapitated. If this proposal is granted planning permission then the Southbank Centre will destroy its reputation as an Idiosyncratic Cultural Hive for Commercial and Financial gain: It will be known as the Southbank Sell-Out Centre.

Britain has a Well Earned Reputation for Protecting its Cultural Heritage: Please Preserve Mine So That Future Generations May Benefit From and Enjoy It.

Hywel ap Dafydd”

Tomorrow is the final day of public consultation. If you agree with me & want to do the same, please follow the instructions I was emailed by Skylon below:

“EMERGENCY

The South Bank Centre has submitted its planning application to Lambeth Council for the building of the new “festival wing” http://thefestivalwing.com.

Within the details of this application there are 5 key words to take note of: “INFILLING OF GROUND FLOOR UNDERCROFTS”

This refers to the complete removal of the skate park.

Please follow the instructions below so that you can officially register your objection to this planning application:

STEP 1: VISIT THIS LINK:

http://planning.lambeth.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=MMU2FHBO03000

STEP 2: CLICK THE “REGISTER” TAB (TOP RIGHT OF MENU BAR) AND FILL IN YOUR DETAILS.

STEP 3: CLICK THE “COMMENT” TAB ON LINK IN STEP 1.

STEP 4: FILL IN DETAILS AND SELECT APPROPRIATE “COMMENTOR TYPE”. SELECT “OBJECT” IN THE STANCE SECTION AND TYPE YOUR COMMENT.

STEP 5: CLICK ON THE “TRACK” BUTTON TO KEEP INFORMED ON THIS PLANNING APPLICATION

STEP 6: CLICK THE “DETAILS” TAB AND THEN CLICK THE “IMPORTANT DATES” TAB AND MAKE A NOTE OF THEM.

It is essential to the campaign that EVERYONE on the petition does this immediately, as the deadline date to submit comments to this planning application is fast approaching. Doing this is one of the most important and influential thing you can do to help save the Southbank skatepark. Please act now.

Thank you,

Skylon

www.facebook.com/sosresistance