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Historic recognition beckons for Livingston Skatepark as it aims to join Scotland's listed sites

Scotland's over 50,000 listed structures, which include everything from castles and churches to pubs and police boxes, may soon be joined by an unusual addition: a skatepark.

Livingston skatepark

Credits: Creative Commons

Historic Environment Scotland (HES), the organisation in charge of designating and preserving listed properties, has launched a consultation to gather public feedback on a prospective listing for a skatepark in West Lothian.

The Livingston Skatepark is known by locals as "Livi" Skatepark. Located in Livingston, one of Scotland's post-war new towns, and has achieved both local and global recognition within the skating community.

The park was built in 1981 by architect Iain Urquhart and was inspired by American counterparts, making it one of the oldest surviving instances of a vintage skatepark.

Its appeal has drawn renowned skateboarders from near and far, including Tony Hawk, affectionately known as the Birdman, who drew enormous crowds during a visit in 1990.

The Livingston Skatepark's quest for historic status began in 2021, when West Lothian Council formally made a bid to HES, urging them to consider listing the property. This action recognises the skatepark's substantial cultural and architectural worth in the community.

The skatepark's distinctive design and historical relevance have piqued the interest of both preservationists and skateboarding enthusiasts. The HES consultation allows the public to weigh in on whether the Livingston Skatepark should be designated as a protected site, joining the ranks of Scotland's unique and treasured landmarks.

In a statement to The Guardian, Dara Parsons head of designations at HES, said that the site was a "hugely popular piece of urban heritage" for the group. "We want to hear from as many voices as possible to help us understand more about its cultural and historical significance, as well as its place among our twentieth-century heritage," she said.

The listing of the Livingston Skatepark would represent a broadening of the notion of cultural heritage, encompassing unorthodox landmarks and locations that have played an important role in creating communities and youth subcultures.

"The Livingston Skatepark is not just a piece of concrete; it embodies the dreams, aspirations, and creative spirit of countless skateboarders," says James Anderson, a resident and advocate for the skatepark's listing.

James insisted that the listing would be a step towards recognising the relevance of skateboarding as not only a sport but an art form. Highlighting the historical significance and uniqueness these types of venues hold.

As the consultation comes to a close, the Livingston community is optimistic that their beloved skatepark will be recognised, cementing its position in Scotland's rich tapestry of historic assets.
If successful, the Livingston Skatepark would become the first skatepark in Scotland to be listed, ensuring it is there for future generations.


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