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Plook on the Plinth Award

Nominations for the most dismal town in Scotland

Ardrossan (Ayrshire)

Woefully unambitious waterfront regeneration has failed to capitalise on Ardrossan's strategic position as a gateway to Arran.
Planned development of the Ardeer Peninsula poses a significant challenge to the existing centres of Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston.

Cambuslang (Glasgow)

Cambuslang with its ludicrously out of scale modern additions to its High Street cum dual carriageway fits the archetypal Glaswegian concrete suburb like a glove - which is a shame. Because hidden behind the Carbuncles lurks an attractive well connected burb.

Denny (Scotland)

Carbuncle Location: The Cross
Reason for nomination: Council abject failure to regenerate
Nominated by: Norman Chattelle

Dumbarton (Scotland)

Dumbarton was once defined by its Rock, it is now (sadly) defined by its semi demolished distillery and distinguished by its pioneering use of 'shopjackets' to disguise derelict stores on the High Street. Ill advised developments such as Lomond Shores add to the mess.

Fort William (Scotland)

Fort William
Fort William is a Highland town strangled by a concrete collar, severing a quaint High Street from the natural beauty beyond with an elongated mass of tarmac and concrete. If the A82 from Glasgow is just one lane either way why dual it through the town centre? An opportunity exists to give Fort William its waterfront back but thus far it is an opportunity missed.

Area: High Street
Reason for nomination: Thousands of pounds spent with the label of "High Street Rejuvenation", money down the drain.
Nominated by: Ian Mackenzie

Irvine (Ayrshire)

Reason for nomination: Irvine is a horrible new town built in the 1960's under the New Towns Act. Irvine has one of the most disgusting town centre's you have ever seen. There is a horrible looking shopping arcade and mall slapped right on top of the town, with a horrible dreary and delapidated council building scarring the main shopping street. The town also has loads of council estates which are completely derelict.
Nominated by: E McLean

Overwhelming greyness cuts few favours for a town buffeted by the harsh and even harsher economic headwinds. Over engineered roads, expanses of wasted spaces and big box developments smother life from the place.

Linwood (Renfrewshire)

Reason for nomination: Have researched and campaigned in Linwood since August 2006 and launched ( now on Facebook). History of illegal and dangerous use of land fill, incenerator, toxic leftover WWI and WWII chemicals dumped in old mine shafts. OAP sheltered housing built on site of toxic waste and the remediation records conveniently lost when developers challenged on extent of clean up. No bank in the town, no public toilets, no pedestrian access to Phoenix retail outlet which includes Showcase Cinema, McDonalds, KFC, Asda, Argos - which results in parents with prams, OAPs and children darting across two dangerous entry/exit lanes to the M8. no safe crossing points on the busy Kashmir Ave to access the riverside walks and national cycle network. Last remaining community asset, the Community Centre, is scheduled to be demolished as part of sports centre redevelopment despite local campaigns to save community centre. Ongoing Tesco shenanigans with the dillapidated and dangerous town centre is just the icing on the cake.
now redirects to the Linwood Sucks Facebook page.

The campaign to save the community centre inspired the launch of the Linwood Community Coalition which has a website on Wordpress -

So yes like the Council spokesperson says there is something of a community spirit fighting to save existing resources and to develop new ones however they are continually IGNORED by Renfrewshire Council and even more so by Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd.

I cannot believe Dumbarton & Fort William are being compared to Linwood.
Nominated by: editor of Linwood Sucks

Recent attempts to pull Linwood up by the bootstraps have met with some success. But much work still needs to be done if the home of the Hillman Imp is to fire on all cylinders. Dubious plans to regenerate the towns crumbling shopping mall remain on ice following dithering from Tesco.

Reason for nomination: the place is a dive
Nominated by: Scottish Boy

Reason for nomination: Town looks is worse condition than the war zones
Nominated by: L Downes

Reason for nomination: The town looks like something out of the old Eastern Bloc .
Nominated by: Tim Ber

Carbuncle Location: Linwood Shopping Centre
Reason for nomination: This looks like something out a war zone and developers (Tesco) are dragging their heels over clearing the site and building a supermarket and other amenities. Time to embarass them into action.
Nominated by: Robert Rice

Nairn (Scotland)

Carbuncle Location: on the beautiful Moray Firth coast Reason for nomination: Described in Victorian times as "the Brighton of the North", the cumulative effects of decades of poor planning, official indecision, developer greed and bad design have turned Nairn from an attractive seaside resort with interesting architecture and great facilities, into a depressing transit route for visitors with a town centre that is dying. The local planners face a long list of charges:
  1. missing an opportunity at the harbour. Instead of redeveloping to provide a lively focus for leisure, eating and suitable shopping around what is now a marina, developers were allowed to build grim blocks of 'affordable housing' adjacent to the historic Fishertown conservation area, blocking the views of the Firth and destroying any chance of a vibrant recreational amenity.
  2. turning their backs on the river. Unlike Lossiemouth, Peebles, even Glasgow, all of which have sought to maximise the appeal of their riversides by facing the river, creating walkways, providing green space and making the river a feature of the town, in Nairn the planners have built - yes - more affordable houses which back on to the riverside, and blocks of flats which obstruct the view;
  3. neglecting the derelict town centre. Decades of ineffectual negotiation and indecision have left the town with an abandoned bus station (now principally a nesting site for belligerent seagulls), an abandoned and fenced off petrol station, the empty and scruffy remains of the Art Deco 'Regal' cinema with a hideous 60s bar-extension (now boarded up) a historic but abandoned church, and the interesting former police station also boarded up. Around these gems, the town centre consists largely of tarmac carpark with adjacent public toilets. The only listed building (an Italianate former school) is now used as offices for Council finance officials and is inaccessible to the public. In 2010 the Council published a plan for redeveloping this key town centre area. What did they propose? Blocks of affordable housing.... Local initiatives and alternatives (prepared pro bono by local architects and planning consultants) were firmly kicked into the long grass.
  4. The transport chaos. The A96 main road threads its way past this scene, and in recent years Nairn has become notorious as a traffic bottleneck. Talk of a bypass remains nothing but talk. Nairn already boasted more traffic lights than the whole of the rest of the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen. In 2010 the planners excelled themselves by requiring the new Sainsburys supermarket to underwrite the cost of installing four MORE sets of traffic lights on the A96 through the town! Net consequence - commuter ratruns through the quiet residential Victorian parts of town, and unofficial diversions on to B roads around the town.
  5. ignoring of the tourism potential. Visitors sit in traffic queues unaware of the town's attractions: the links, the amazing beaches, the golf courses, the stylish wrought iron Bandstand.... all invisible and ignored. The Highland Tourist route recently designated by VisitScotland actually diverts tourists away from the town! 5) offering only a dismal future vision for the town. Yes, Highland Council has a vision...! Essentially it appears to be to turn Nairn into another dormitory suburb as Inverness spreads inexorably eastwards swallowing up more prime agricultural Laich of Moray land and blighting the scenery with vast and soulless housing estates. Nairn is destined to have at least three more massive housing zones - the Common Good land at Sandown, the farmland south of the town, and the Cawdor Estate lands to the west - offering the prospect that Nairn will become as soulless and bleak as the other dormitories of Balloch, Smithton, Culloden, the Inshes and Milton of Leys - otherwise known as the Tullochsuburbs of the Tescotown...
It's not too late to rescue Nairn and revive the town. But it will require a fundamental change of approach, and a great deal more imagination than the planners have shown in recent decades. The authorities have so far been impervious to pressure and resistant to advice. Perhaps listing for the Carbuncle Awards will embarrass them into a more creative and flexible approach. I hope so, but I'm not holding my breath!
Nominated by: nairnbairn

Port Glasgow (Inverclyde)

Port Glasgow
Of all the seaside towns along the Clyde coast to fall from greatness Port Glasgow has perhaps fallen furthest. Circumvented by vacationers seeking brighter surrounds the town languishes in decline.

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