Livingston Skatepark to join Scotland's list of important structures

Livingston Skatepark to join Scotland’s list of important structures

International legend Tony Hawk once skated at the world-renowned skatepark now listed by Historic Environment Scotland

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has designated Livingston ‘Livi’ Skatepark as a listed structure at category B.

The skatepark, which opened in 1981 and was later extended, achieved international renown within the skate scene from its earliest days due to its scale, ambition and quality. Known for its very deep Double Bowl and finely-tuned transitions, the skatepark is an enduring icon of the Scottish skate and bike scene.

‘Livi’ Skatepark is the earliest surviving purpose-built skatepark in Scotland. Concrete skateparks from this era are increasingly rare across the UK as many have been filled in or demolished. It is also an important example of public enterprise architecture by Livingston Development Corporation built to serve Livingston New Town.

Livingston Skatepark to join Scotland's list of important structures

Livingston Skatepark to join Scotland's list of important structures

Skateboarding originated in 1950s California and became very popular in Scotland during the later 1970s. This is when skateboarder, Kenny Omond, first approached Livingston Development Corporation with the idea for a skatepark.

Architect Iain Urquhart designed the skatepark after extensive study of US skateparks and conversations with skateboarders. As a result, the skatepark is an authentic reflection of the skate culture of the 1970-1980s. Omond designed an extension to the skatepark in 1992, a time when very few skateparks were being built.

The listing of the structure ensures its significance will inform decisions about its future.

Dara Parsons, Head of Designations at Historic Environment Scotland, said:

“We are delighted to confirm ‘Livi’ Skatepark as a listed building after West Lothian Council asked us to consider designation.

“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.”

Rick Curran, Secretary at Skateboard Scotland, said:

“Skateboard Scotland are pleased to hear that Livingston skatepark is to be designated a listed structure, this designation will help ensure it retains the essence that makes it a famously strong foundation for Scottish skateboarding. Livi is a beloved, world-renowned skatepark recognised by many for its ground-breaking design, but at 43 years old it is showing considerable signs of age, so we are extremely keen to see the necessary steps taken to ensure this essence is protected for future generations through sympathetic, considered stabilisation and restoration.

“We want to thank the skate community for the huge amount of feedback and information they provided to Historic Environment Scotland (HES) as part of the survey last year which has helped them to consider and award this designation.”

Lawrence Fitzpatrick, Leader of West Lothian Council, said:

“I’m absolutely delighted that Livingston Skate Park 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 Skate Park, 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.”