Winstan Whitter’s association with Southbank goes back so far that it’s no surprise that he decided to make another documentary on skateboarding’s most famous UK spot. With the recent fight to keep the space in the hands of British skaters, Whitter’s new short web documentary ‘You Can’t Move History‘ looks into the process that saved Southbank from relocation and the communication behind LLSB’s efforts to get the job done.
Get the teas on and look back on an important happening in British skateboarding.
A press release has just reached us from the Southbank Centre on the future of the Undercroft and the relationship between them and the Long Live Southbank campaigners, and it looks like VERY good news if you read both statements below. Southbank is SAVED.
Well done to all involved who backed the campaign and of course, all those who tirelessly worked to stop the relocation of arguably the most historic, natural skate spot in the UK.
JOINT STATEMENT: LONG LIVE SOUTHBANK AND SOUTHBANK CENTRE SECURE FUTURE OF UNDERCROFT FOR SKATEBOARDING AND URBAN ACTIVITIES
Following talks that have taken place over the last three months, Long Live Southbank and Southbank Centre are delighted to have reached an agreement that secures the Queen Elizabeth Hall undercroft as the long-term home of British skateboarding and the other urban activities for which it is famous.
The agreement has been formalised in a binding planning agreement with Lambeth Council. In the agreement, Southbank Centre agrees to keep the undercroft open for use without charge for skateboarding, BMX riding, street writing and other urban activities.
On the basis of the protections secured by the planning agreement, Southbank Centre and Long Live Southbank have withdrawn their respective legal actions in relation to the undercroft. These include Southbank Centre’s challenge to the registration of the undercroft as an asset of community value, Long Live Southbank’s application for village green status for the undercroft, and a judicial review of Lambeth Council’s decision to reject the village green application.
Long Live Southbank is pleased to support Southbank Centre’s Festival Wing project for the improvement of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery, on the basis that the plans will now no longer include any redevelopment within the skate area of the Queen Elizabeth Hall undercroft.
Cllr Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council said; “I’m pleased that Lambeth Council was able to work with both sides and find an imaginative solution to resolve this. Shared public space in London is precious and Southbank Centre is a great asset to the country’s cultural life. This agreement is a sensible way of protecting both and we can all now look forward.”
The Guardian are powering the campaign for Save Southbank right now with their 3rd feature in a week. This one though has special meaning, as its written by legendary London skater and musician Crispin ‘Spry’ Robinson, who ripped MW2 and various other London spots to shreds when he was skating full time back in the 80’s.
His wise words on today’s Guardian feature state that:
“Moving the skaters to a purpose-built spot along the river misses the point. Reclaimed urban spaces are more than just bits of forgotten concrete. They have memories. They resonate with ghosts of the past. They contribute to the richness and diversity of our lives. Their value cannot be measured in material terms. We need South Bank.2
The bank holiday weekend of May 2013 will always be remembered as Save Southbank’s due to the phenomenal effort involved to keep the flame alive. This came from locals who worked tirelessly to organise the event, the many skaters that have spent hours sessioning the banks there over the last 40 years and passers-by showing their support for our scene at the Undercroft throughout this three day session.
If for some unique reason you have missed what is going on, catch up with the relocation plans that skateboarders have been proposedhere and then catch up on a Q&A session with the answers here. In a nut shell, skateboarders feel short changed by the the fact that the skatepark will be knocked down to make way for more retail units due to a huge investment into rebuilding the area in 2014. It is clear that the Southbank Centre look to cash in on what is definitely a prime location which means relocating skateboarders to a new spot under the Hungerford Bridge.
This event to highlight this news was graced by the sun’s rays beaming across the Thames whilst the stereo pumped out tunes to a game of S.K.A.T.E. All heads were held high and most importantly, everyone was there for each other from all sides of the scene. Chewy Cannon was one of many who dedicated a lot of time into the organisation of the weekend. His arms are probably no longer functioning after 72 hours of holding that huge megaphone, but he also found time to douse the new blocks that Chris Oliver and friends had spent time building with his switch skills whilst hitting every wall in sight. These blocks were sessioned hard all weekend by many as you will see in the gallery shots below, and are now added to the many other creatively built objects that have changed the landscape down there allowing new tricks to enter the history books.
This feature is short and for those who live too far away to be present in such an important movement for British skateboarding. If you managed to make time in your busy schedule to put a face in the door this weekend, then our hats are off to you. If you didn’t, take in what you missed and thank the people involved for getting to the heart of the matter and doing something positive, rather than watching it all from Facebook or writing negative blog posts on why people should give up the fight and just take it on the chin.
This is phase one. Do your bit and let everyone know that skateboarders would like their home to stay exactly where it is. We do not need another burger or coffee joint at the Southbank, we don’t need another concrete skatepark built in a new location either, we would just like to take SB back to its roots, clean it up and protect its incredible history. Hopefully, someone, somewhere will one day realise that this shared space means so much to so many people and that the magic created here will never be replicated anywhere else.
Have your say by completing this short survey that conveniently doesn’t mention skateboarders. Over 27,000 signatures had been logged by Saturday afternoon, share/like this feature and ask friends to get involved.
Big thanks to all involved in running this event all weekend, Dan Joyce who filmed these clips below, Session Noisses on the beats, and Gorm (B&W) and Maksim Kalanep for the use of their photos here alongside some of our own.
This weekend will see a game of S.K.A.T.E at the Southbank for unsponsored skaters put together by Slam, Parlour and Stand Up skate shop. It’s amazing to see all of these London shops pull together for this. The qualifiers will take place this Saturday 4th May from 2pm-8pm and the final will be held on Bank Holiday Monday 6th May between 2pm-5pm.
Sign yourself by walking into any any of the three skate shops listed here this week. Prizes will be awarded from the sponsors listed on this flyer. Share this today and visit www.longlivesouthbank.com.
Please note that there’s also a new survey that the Southbank Centre have rolled out that needs 2 mins of your time.