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Boris Johnson sides with skaters in Southbank planning row

The mayor of London has offered his support for a skate park in Southbank, which is at the heart of a £120m planned redevelopment of the Southbank Centre.

As part of the development project, the skate park would be moved 120 m away to a new site under Hungerford Bridge, but Boris Johnson has now said that he wants the park to keep its current location.

He said: “I wholeheartedly support the principle of enhancing the world-class cultural facilities at the Southbank Centre and am encouraged by many of the aspects of their plans.

“However, redevelopment should not be at the detriment of the skate park, which should be retained in its current position.”

The intervention by the mayor could scupper plans for the £120m redevelopment. Developers had hoped to use the skate park, which has existed at the site for more than 40 years, to create new retail units, which it said would generate income for the proposals.

In a statement, Southbank Centre said it was “surprised” by the mayor’s announcement.

It added: “We look forward to hearing how he intends to fill the financial gap that now stands between us and our ability to provide free art and culture to millions of Londoners.

“In the meantime the Southbank Centre Board must consider the implications for the future of the project if he fails to do so.”

Non-profit organisation Long Live Southbank, which earlier this month delivered a petition with more than 27,000 objections to the scheme to Lambeth Council, has campaigned against the relocation of the skate park and said it was “delighted by Boris Johnson’s intervention”.

Lambeth Council said the council will make a decision on the planning application by the end of February at the earliest. The decision will also be referred back to the mayor.

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