Southbank skate space nearly doubles in size

Skaters and BMXers have been using it since the early seventies, and it is widely regarded as the home of British skateboarding, But a few years ago it looked as if the Southbank Undercroft skate space would be closed off and turned into shops and restaurants.

In a victory for community campaigning the skaters have not only retained the space they now use, but have also reclaimed space lost in 2005.

The Undercroft lies underneath the Queen Elizabeth Hall

After two thirds of the space was sectioned off plans were announced in 2012 to close the site to skaters and redevelop it.

The space is used by graffiti artists and musicians as well as skaters

The group Long Live Southbank was formed and gathered public support to keep the space open. They reached an agreement with the Southbank Centre in 2014 to keep the space for skateboarding, with the addition of a centre for schools and young people.

Funding was won from the Mayor of London, the London Marathon Charitable Trust and a number of other sources including private backers. The formerly unused area has now been renovated, nearly doubling the usable space in the Undercroft, and work on the schools' centre is underway.

The renovated space nearly doubles the area open to the public
Wooden sleepers have been installed along the walls

Southbank project manager Stuart Maclure says he hopes that the project will inspire other community groups to campaign to open up spaces in London currently closed off to the public.