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Skatepark described as ‘legendary’ by icon Tony Hawk given protected status

A Scottish skatepark that Tony Hawk once described as a “legendary place” has been given protected status by heritage bosses.

Livingston “Livi” Skatepark in West Lothian opened in 1981 and achieved international recognition due to its scale, ambition and quality.

It is known for its deep bowl and attracted skaters far and wide.

American professional skateboarder Tony Hawk visited the park in 1991 and described it as a “legendary place”.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) said it is the oldest surviving purpose-built skatepark in the country and has now designated it as a listed structure at category B, meaning it is an architecturally or historically important site.

HES said many concrete skateparks from that era are “increasingly rare” across the UK as many have been filled or demolished.

West Lothian Council spearheaded the campaign for the site to be listed.

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Livingston 'Livi' Skatepark. Pic West Lothian Council
Image: West Lothian Council spearheaded the campaign for the site to be listed. Pic: West Lothian Council

Lawrence Fitzpatrick, leader of the local authority, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Livingston Skatepark has been granted B listed status.

“Thanks to everyone in the local and skating communities who showed their support for the unique facility during the consultation process.

“As the custodians of Livingston Skatepark, we are well aware of the importance of the park, and adding it to the list of Scotland’s significant structures will help ensure it is protected for future generations.”

The World's No1 skateboarder Tony Hawk signs autographs for fans during his guest appearance to celebrate the opening of the new Quiksilver and Roxy store on Carnaby street in central London.
Image: Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk in London in 2004. Pic: PA

Skateboarding, which originated in California in the 1950s, became popular in Scotland in the 1970s.

The movement prompted local skater Kenny Omond to approach Livingston Development Corporation with the idea for a skatepark.

It was designed and built by architect Iain Urquhart after an extensive study of US skateparks and conversations with skateboarders.

Mr Omond designed an extension to the park in 1992, a time when very few skateparks were being built.

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Dara Parsons, head of designations at HES, said: “Iain Urquhart’s original design is grounded in early skate culture, and the park is known around the world for its pioneering design, the quality of the skating experience, and as a prototype for later concrete skateparks.

“We are very grateful for everybody who contributed to our public engagement, which helped us understand the history, design, quality and experiences for those who use the skatepark.

“Tony Hawk, who skated there back in 1991, described it as ‘a legendary place’, and it is clear that this remains a highly valued creative and social space for the community of Livingston and the skating and biking community.

“Through designation, we hope to recognise and protect the best examples of our cultural heritage.

“Listing Scotland’s oldest skatepark helps demonstrate the variety of our historic environment and especially the important role the built environment of the late 20th century structure has in telling Scotland’s story.”

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