This is the rather long planning objection I’ve posted to Lambeth council about the destruction of the skatepark. If you object to others telling everyone how to live their lives and how much better our lives would be if we only moved 100yrs down the road then please lodge a complaint here:

The hashtag is #savesouthbank.

Ok here goes…

Imagine a butterfly that’s living free in a field and then someone comes along, stabs it with a pin, mounts it on a board and moves it 100yrs to the right so that shops can be built on its land. This is what supporters want to do with the skateboarders - kill the very essence of this area that makes it such a global attraction.

How can supporters make an argument for redevelopment on the grounds of arts & cultural improvement when it will destroy the one single thing with any authenticity? Shame on you. Shame on you for thinking that top-down planning by middle-class intellectuals can ever be a replacement for what is a grassroots community grown organically over many years.

The redevelopment proposes to take an authentic, unique and historical landmark and create a bland, generic retail strip indistinguishable from any other waterside developments around the world. Look at the pathetic sight of the shops under Festival Hall - Eat, Wagamama, Giraffe, Foyals… yawn. How culturally significant are any of these? And yet you propose more of the same. It’s a disgrace.

And now we see the money and influence of the supporters enlisting the support of St Martins to create propaganda on their behalf to sell the idea that “it’s only 100yrs and the space is bigger”. Well (a) shame on St Martins for not supporting grassroots art & culture and (b) if the space is so great go build your ugly shops there.

How do supporters of the redevelopment feel about the native Americans who were moved off their land and onto reservations? Or animals that are taken from natural habitats and moved into zoos? How does this sit with the stooges at St. Martins - are they happy to be part of a the destruction of a culturally significant part of London?

With so few young people engaging in culture and politics, what message does it send that some old person in authority can wake up one day and decide these people - the skateboarders that gave this area credibility in the first place when nobody wanted it - can be dismissed and shunted along 100 yrs.

Let’s face it, there is no compelling need to destroy the skate area. Planners need to go back and either scale back their ambitions or find an alternative source of funding to make up the revenue from the shops.

To destroy this authentic, culturally significant and important landmark will send a shameful statement about Britain.
The planners will have this destruction on their conscience. They’ll be able to tell their children - yes that was me, I took a popular meeting spot for young people, crushed all that was important to them and put them in a pretty zoo. 100yrs might just as well be a million miles.

Please stop this disgraceful and shameful land grab.

  1. pratten posted this