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The Pock Mark Award

For the worst planning decision

Bardowie Brae (Stirlingshire)

Bardowie Brae
Reason for nomination: Three enormous houses 10,15 persons being constructed and accessed at a accident spot on a blind bend Decision by EDC approved under the guidelines for Townscape .Bardowie is a Hamlet. Completion Dec. 2013 Images will follow

Nominated by: Anthony Cicalese

Irvine leisure centre (Ayrshire)

Irvine leisure centre
Reason for nomination: Explained in my letter to my Councilor "It was with deep sorrow that I read about the demise of an Irvine institution last week. I've worked all over Scotland and there are so many of my peers who travelled from far and wide to visit the Magnum in the 70's and 80's. Now that it is to be demolished I feel that we, as the people of Irvine, have been let down. I will try and explain why in the following paragraphs.

The original concept of the Magnum was in its time unique. Swimming Pools, Ice Rink, Theatre, Cinema, gym, Sports Hall, Squash Courts and indoor Bowling green to name but a few of the activities on offer, all under one roof. There was ample parking, public transport and the facilities complimented the beach park as an outdoor leisure area. It all worked well, and this was supported by attendance numbers. The 80's and 90's of course brought competition to the Magnum by way of similar, of smaller multipurpose facilities, but the offering of the Magnum was still unique. Of course you can't just sit still. You need to move with the times, and the Magnum tried, turning the swimming pool into a fun pool, etc. but other than this there was always the impression that evolution and investment was let's say half hearted.

Fast forward to the mid 00's and the first whiff that the Magnum may be closed due to running costs and dwindling attendance numbers. I would be fascinated to review any attendance number analysis to determine what the catalyst or catalysts were for this reduction in paying customers. I have my own views as a paying customer, and I have lived in Irvine all my life (apart from a few years in Australia) and I know many many paying customers like myself, who are of a similar opinion. As mentioned I'm sure the reason is relatively complex, but I have one factor which none I know would disagree with. If you underinvest for many years and systematically run down leisure facilities to the point where paying customers would rather travel large distances to use cleaner, better maintained facilities, you will lose customers. I'm sure that this is not a revelation to any of my council representatives.

Take it a step further. To then use these reduced figures as justification for replacing the current facilities, is tantamount to the constructive demise of said facilities. This is not in this instance a hypothetical argument. It is the argument used when I raised an objection to the replacement of the Magnum when the plans surfaced last year. Using Squash as the sport in question I raised the issue that there was no provision within the new facility. I was told that Squash court usage had been dwindling for some time, and due to space restriction provision was not included in the new plans. I played Squash at the Magnum with my wife every week, and I could see why no one was using the courts. They were dirty (litter on the floors), there were holes in the walls and we could not shower after the game because the changing rooms were dirty, the showers were cold, if working and there were no working lockers to store your valuables in. We stopped using the facility, We were told that there was some (obscure) squash club in Dreghorn we could join if we wanted but other than that, no provision in North Ayrshire.

We joined the Marine Highland Health Club instead where we now travel 30 minutes (round trip) and pay a premium, but the Squash court is well maintained, the showers are hot and the lockers work. I appreciate that I am being verbose but it is only because I have tried to contact the council a number of times on this subject before. I get a very nice letter saying that my opinion has been taken into account, and that's it. Switching back to our new community facility for a moment. It is not fit for purpose for so many reasons, which I will list as follows:

1) The location of the facility is on a traffic island, bounded by the high street (lots of buses), East Road and Bank Street. Those waking from the West will have to rely on a pedestrian crossing at the top of Bridgegate, which is already a choke point with the restricted width of the pavement, barriers, a busy newsagents and 2 separate bus stops. Car users will have to park in East Road (if they can find a space, I can't currently find a space there after 09:00) and cross busy East Road. They won't use the pedestrian crossing at Bank Street because that would mean walking the wrong way before going the right way. I am going to stop this one here although I could go on. The fact is the chosen location is on a traffic island, which isn't connected to the necessary facilities surrounding it to support whichever mode of transport is chosen. It will be "too hard".
2) The restricted space means that only certain sports can be catered for. I've already made my point about my beloved Squash. 3) The architecture is generic and by the standards of even the selected architect is uninspiring. I've taken the liberty of posting a link to a Scottish architecture website. Please take a look at some of the comments.
4) We're flattening a historic area, which has been left to rot. Remember that horrible old bridge across the river, that was knocked down and replaced by the the Shopping Mall? That was a good idea. Sorry I don't mean to be sarcastic but my point is a well made one. We have to learn from past mistakes. I am an advocate of progress, even in historical environs, if it is done well. We live in a town which has been ravaged by bad planning decisions. Let's learn by our mistakes.
5) It is my opinion that irvine meeds to be seen as a progressive, expanding population centre, to attract the right type of investment and migration to the area. The approved proposal can only been seen as a backward step. If the population is expected to grow in Irvine, has this been considered in the proposals? Are the proposals scaleable so that if demand outstrips supply down the line that additional provision can be supplied?
6) The loss of the magnum to the harbour side area will be a blow to existing businesses, which I believe in many cases struggle. One less attraction for the harbour side again is a backward step. I appreciate that plans have been approved for a housing development covering the car park at the harbour, and the recently approved golf and hotel development at the back shore, but both of these developments seem at best tenuous (Housing development was scheduled to commence years ago) and the golf and hotel developer have modified their planning application to request that they be able to develop the golf course and time shares without the hotel. This would seem to signal a perception that there is too much risk in the development of the hotel at this point, which may ultimately mean that it is never built).
7) What is the intention for the land once the magnum is demolished? Will the scar just be grassed over? What about the car park? This will no longer be necessary as visitors to this area will decrease substantially. We are not short of open land in this area, so I never believed some of those who said that this land was earmarked for development into this, that and the next thing. Land availability is not at a premium in the harbour side area.
8) The people of Irvine do not want this, and we are not being considered. We are being pointed to reports and decisions and this that and the next thing, but our questions, concerns and wishes are not being giving the credence they deserve. You are supposed to represent we, the people, but the stance you are taking is derisory and I'm sorry to say offensive. You seem to know what is better for us than we do."

 Nominated by: TC

Little Raith (Fife)

Little Raith
Little Raith was approved despite the turbines being identified in a scientific report published by the University of Glasgow, highlighting that the wake of the turbines have the potential to interact with pollutants dispersed by Mossmorran, and distribute the pollutants in higher concentrations in the local area.

The turbines produce shadow flicker for residents, and whenever Mossmorran flares, residents suffer from the unique phenomenon of shadow flicker in the evening. The residents also suffer from noise pollution from the local bypass,

Mossmorran and now the wind farm. The turbines dominate over the landscape and town of Lochgelly, and have taken away the last remaining area of countryside at the south of the town, as the noise is unbearable in that location and pose a health risk from pollutants emitted from the local plant.

Nominated by: Loch of Shining Waters

The developers have recently announced their intention to extend the wind farm by an additional 7x135m turbines, closer to the towns surrounding the development.

Within their scoping opinion, further issues have been identified with the existing wind farm with regards to local air quality and now ground contamination, specifically;

    - Interaction of atmospheric emission plumes from the site with turbulent wind turbine wakes has the potential to increase ground level concentrations in the immediate vicinity of the turbines or in the immediate vicinity of the stacks, although this will only be in areas where there is no habitation.

    - The change in impact on areas where there is human habitation has been shown to be negligible, and there could be a reduction in impact due to the improved atmospheric mixing as a result of the turbine wake turbulence

This area is farmland with cattle and crops, and it is situated on a Public Right of Way, which people still access (although in less numbers), yet no warnings have been given to the public, or to the local authority (as far as our group is aware), advising visitors to the site of this potential risk.

Nominated by James Glen

Neilston Community Windfarm (Renfrewshire)

Neilston Community Windfarm
A joint venture between Neilston Development Trust and Carbon Free Developments resulted in four 110m turbines being constructed beside the village of Uplawmoor which gains no financial benefit from the development whatsoever. East Renfrewshire Council did not request an Environmental Impact Assessment (unheard of for a development of this size) and against the recommendation of Scottish Natural Heritage who stated in correspondence to the council: SNH must advise the planning authority that the Neilston Community Windfarm proposal has the potential to result in significant environmental impacts – particularly in terms of its landscape and visual effects.

However the proposal has not been made subject to full EIA and SNH is unable to advise on these impacts based on the landscape and visual impact assessment submitted within the applicant’s Environmental Report. Uplawmoor has sought and been denied, recompense for 25 years of negative visual effects, noise and depreciation in property prices which as you can see from the photographs are extreme and substantially worse than anticipated due to underestimation of the impact in the developer's photomontages and East Renfrewshire Council 's developer friendly planning condition which allows the turbine positions to be changed by as much as 50m without submitting another planning application, something which the developers took full advantage of!!

Perth Railway Station Footbridge (Perth & Kinross)

Perth Railway Station Footbridge
Faded grandeur is an apt description for Perth’s monumental railway station which has survived largely intact from its Victorian origins, despite the closure of key routes – such as the Strathmore line to Forfar and Aberdeen, and the direct line to Edinburgh via Kinross – which helped make ‘the Fair City’ one of the crossroads of the Scottish rail network. Now – because footbridges and ramps within the station don’t quite comply with modern disability legislation – Network Rail and the planners from Perth & Kinross Council have desecrated the station environment with a clumsy and over-engineered new footbridge and lifts complex. It’s an off-the-shelf structure imposed from London by ‘standards bound’ Network Rail designers and has no fit with the largely Victorian surroundings.

To add insult to injury, it’s virtually unused, as the alternatives within the station building are vastly more convenient for the overwhelming majority of passengers. Just as lamentable as the useless location is the new inconvenience that it has imposed on passengers when the weather is poor. Because the structure partly obscures the platform-end signal, trains now stop much further along the platform nearer the footbridge, which means that a large part of a 3-car train is now beyond the roof canopy of Perth station – so on wet days, everyone tries to cram into the coach still under the canopy, sometimes causing delays to train departures. This naff new structure is thought to have cost around £1m – money which would better have been spent on opening a new station in nearby Newburgh, which has none, with cash left over for a feasibility study of recreating a direct Perth-Edinburgh link, as advocated by the Inter-City Express campaign. And was it really beyond the wit of local planners and Network Rail designers to come up with a sensible upgrade of Perth station’s existing freight lifts, which would have left the unique station environment almost untouched?

Lessons need to learned from this sorry episode, which will permanently blight the Perth station environment – planners should be realistic in what they can expect in a working (albeit listed) railway station, and Network Rail has to be more responsive to local circumstances in its treatment of listed structures.

Paul Tetlaw (Transform Scotland Rail Campaigner)

Scottish Provident (Edinburgh)

Scottish Provident
The Scottish Provident building, a B-listed modernist landmark in Edinburgh, has been flattened to make way for a speculative £75m office, retail and residential development. Malcolm Fraser, who took this picture, described the demolition as a ‘tragedy’ for the city, addong: "One of Edinburgh’s finest modern buildings destroyed – though the Gareth Hoskins/CDA proposals will glue a bit of the façade back on."

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