Photo: Fos by Dom Marley.
The Southbank Centre have answered questions submitted from the many users wondering what exactly will happen when the redevelopment of the Undercroft takes place in the future. The relocation plan is to move skateboarders (bmx’ers, graffiti people, hangers-on, jugglers etc) under the Hungerford Railway Bridge and to retain and enhance the Southbank Centre as the iconic home for urban arts in an even more diverse cultural setting.
There’s a huge amount of information that should be read today from the document that has been released. The answers bring up some interesting responses. Here’s a few that stood out:
CLOSURE: Firstly they expect to have to close the Festival Wing site from autumn 2014 to spring 2017.
CURRENT LOCATION: They have confirmed that the current and legendary skate spot is the most profitable area due to footfall and the main reason they would like to relocate skateboarders is that “Its prominent location makes it the place that most people will first experience the Festival Wing” and that this location is the “most commercially valuable space, the income from which will support commercial loans to pay for the capital cost of the refurbishment.” It’s somehow fitting that timed with the death of Margeret Thatcher only yesterday that privatisation of space reigns over the public use of space. Social viability is once again undercut for economic gain.
RELOCATION: They have “identified the Undercoft under Hungerford Railway Bridge as a possible new location”. There is certainly no alternative location mentioned at all. There are certainly no plans to keep the current area open for skateboarders in 2017.
RELOCATION SIZE: “The Hungerford Bridge Undercroft is roughly similar in area to the current QEH undercroft at 1,000 m2.” The question here is that the original space before it was taken away and boarded up was at least double this size.
HERITAGE CENTER: The history of the Undercroft will be showcased in the new building. “So as part of the co-commissioning process we would like to discuss with the Undercroft users how they would like to tell their story and what special events they would like to hold in the heritage centre to celebrate their continuing contribution to the
Southbank Centre.” This will be a nice touch.
The Southbank Centre have called meetings inviting various people to discuss the future of SB but unfortunately they have not issued these with enough notice so far, (i.e 4 days before the Tuesday of a bank holiday) so we are unable to bring you inside knowledge just yet and have still not met the people involved sadly. Hopefully there will be more sessions with decent notice so we can be more involved moving forwards, especially when it comes to events and structure of the new build.
Various Southbank reunions have come on our radar recently too and are currently being arranged on Facebook, so look out for invites.
Remind yourself of some of the historical skate sessions with Tony Luckhurst, Matt Dawson, Jason Maldini, Curtis McCann, Reuben Goodyear, Ben Wheeler and a few other South Bank locals from this footage filmed from 1991.