London skaters have won a long, hard-fought battle against the authorities after it was announced that the area underneath the Southbank Centre will remain home to skaters, dashing any plans developers had to turn the urban hangout into shops and restaurants.
The Long Live Southbank campaign to save the spot underneath the Queen Elizabeth Hall has run for 17 months and campaigners posted on Facebook yesterday:
"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."
The Southbank Centre had proposed a £120 million redevelopment of the area that they maintained was only possible were the skaters to be moved on. The skateboarders refused to go, sparking a battle between the two sides that lasted over a year and a half.
The initial plan was to relocate the skaters to a space underneath Hungerford Bridge, but Lambeth Council received over 27,000 objections to the planning application. Ultimately, the proposed development failed because of the skaters' determined drive to rally support and their stubborn refusal to up sticks and be told to move from a place where they'd formed and nurtured their own culture.
Skaters 1 – The Man 0.
Below you can watch our Doc X on Domas, a skater integral to saving the Southbank site.