London

Southbank Centre puts Festival Wing plans on hold

A skater in the Southbank skate park Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The skatepark has been in the undercroft of Southbank Centre since 1976

Plans for a £120m revamp of London's Southbank Centre have been placed on hold after Mayor Boris Johnson intervened in a row over the position of a skatepark.

The proposals would see the skatepark relocated 120m, but the Mayor insisted last month it should not be moved.

Withholding the planning application was a "big setback", the Southbank Centre said.

The plans were originally due to be considered this month.

Part of the funding package for the project depended on the skatepark being moved to make way for new restaurants.

The centre will now try to identify alternative funding.

'Revival attempt'

Southbank Centre chairman Rick Haythornthwaite said the redevelopment would "serve millions" if it went ahead.

He said: "The case for closing the project down right now is compelling but we feel we owe a last-ditch revival attempt to the many people that have supported us over the past four years of planning, not least the Arts Council England.

"Boris Johnson and Lambeth Council have both made clear that they wish to see the scheme proceed and we look forward to hearing their ideas."

The Mayor has the final say in the planning process leaving the scheme "unlikely" to gain permission without the retention of the skate park, the centre said.

A spokesperson for the Mayor said: "The Mayor wholeheartedly supports the principle of enhancing the world-class cultural facilities at the Southbank Centre but believes redevelopment should not be to the detriment of the skate park.

"He hopes they will be able to revise their plans and come forward with proposals that would cement Southbank's status while protecting the skatepark."

Skateboarders have protested against the plans to move the park to Hungerford Bridge.

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