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Denny in detail

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April 12 2010

Denny in detail
Denny has found itself garnering unwanted headlines of late for an eyesore town centre, so with the sun out and spring in the air Urban Realm took time out to pay a visit to the Stirlingshire town to see if things really are all that bad.

Andres Duany’s recent claims that no new housing to be proud of had been built in Scotland since 1945 perhaps gains some credence after a short stroll along the town’s High Street. It is an oddly lop sided affair.

Turn to one side and handsome Victorian Denny hoves into view, a row of modest but well built two storey terraces converted to satiate the demands of 21st century retail.

Swivel 180 degrees however and a very different Denny emerges. Three five storey pink and yellow blocks, a sort of fruit salad gone off, stand on top of a landscaped podium.

The majority of these units are empty save for a few awaiting relocation but the scene perhaps jars as much for its unexpectedness as for its decay. This is a sight more redolent of the suburbs of Glasgow than Stirlingshire.

Plans for the sites transformation remain stalled as the financial strain hits both Council and developers coffers but perhaps the financial toll of delay on local business, tourism and residents will prove higher in the final reckoning.

Denny is a nominee in The Carbuncles awards 2010, a full shortlist will be published on May 28.
Ample parking provision is on offer for those who choose to stop. Few do it seems
Ample parking provision is on offer for those who choose to stop. Few do it seems
Up close and personal things do not improve, quite the contrary
Up close and personal things do not improve, quite the contrary

Welcome to Denny? If first impressions count then Denny is out for the count
Welcome to Denny? If first impressions count then Denny is out for the count
Which is a shame beacause historic Denny is actiually rather fine, sporting splendid views to the Ochil hills
Which is a shame beacause historic Denny is actiually rather fine, sporting splendid views to the Ochil hills

8 Comments

Rabbie
#1 Posted by Rabbie on 12 Apr 2010 at 11:05 AM
Hang on though... simply walking around Denny and spotting badly maintained buildings doesn't support Duany's (possibly ill-informed) claims. Has there really been nothing since 1945 built in the whole of Scotland which has been well-designed housing? Nothing at all? How about housing which has won awards?
Can we have a list?
John Glenday
#2 Posted by John Glenday on 12 Apr 2010 at 11:48 AM
The Scottish Design Awards are a good starting point, full list of nominations here...
http://www.thedrum.co.uk/events/70-scottish-design-awards-2010/categories/
Rabbie
#3 Posted by Rabbie on 12 Apr 2010 at 11:50 AM
Indeed. How about citing housing award winners from the recent past?

Isn't it time Duany's ramblings were challenged?
brian mccabe
#4 Posted by brian mccabe on 14 Apr 2010 at 07:25 AM
By all means challenge Mr Duany's 'ramblings' where you find them, but do not reject his well observed comments out of context.
Here he specifically talks of Denny Town Centre, a contender for this years Carbuncle of the Year as promoted by Urban Realm.
"Three five storey pink and yellow blocks, a sort of fruit salad gone off"; " the scene perhaps jars as much for its unexpectedness as for its decay."; "the financial toll of delay on local business, tourism and residents will prove higher in the final reckoning."
All well observed and, I'd suggest, very apposite comments, particularly the latter.

I am engaged in a campaign to influence My council to take immediate action to have these blocks removed at the earliest opportunity. They don't simply represent an example of the claim that no new housing to be proud of had been built since 1945; they are not simply a legacy of a failed architectural heritage; they ARE however a singularly successful showpiece against any potential future investment into my town.
Argue the toss about 'housing award winners from the recent past' by all means, but don't dispute the monstrosities of the past which impact on our todays and future environment.
Donald Drathmore
#5 Posted by Donald Drathmore on 14 Apr 2010 at 08:56 AM
Henry Boot were only going to be knocking down the pink flats and basically rebuilding the shops below.

There was not going to be a regeneration under Henry Boot, it was just going to be rebuilt with as cheap building materials as possible with a town layout worse than what we have already.

Henry Boot stalling development should be seen as a god send for the people of Denny.

They should look towards finding a First Class developer who isn't likely to cut costs by using cheap materials.

The current plans remind me of Cumbernauld, with a big supermarket in the middle sucking the life out of the rest of the town.

The traditional shops in Denny would be bypassed to traffic and taken up Davies row, taking away much needed trade to local businesses.

The current Henry Boot plans would be a disaster for Denny.

Take this stall in progress as a second chance for the people of Denny to get things right.
Rabbie
#6 Posted by Rabbie on 14 Apr 2010 at 10:03 AM
Hang on though... the specific comments in the article above were not by Duany but by Urban Realm surely? "Andres Duany’s recent claims that no new housing to be proud of had been built in Scotland since 1945 perhaps gains some credence after a short stroll along the town’s High Street. It is an oddly lop sided affair."

One swallow does not a summer make.

And I would challenge the view that no good new housing has been built anywhere in Scotland since 1945. If that's the case, are all those award winning homes really not as 'good' as anything Duany has built? Are Saltire and other awards judges really not up to the job? Are all Scotland's architects lesser beings than Duany? I think not. He's not the Messiah.

Perhaps he didn't look in the right places.

Brian McCabe
#7 Posted by Brian McCabe on 16 Apr 2010 at 08:54 AM
"Duany’s recent claims ... perhaps gains some credence" Whether the comments of Urban Realm or Duany, my point stands. The Denny blocks are badly constructed & maintained buildings.
Argue the relevance of Duany's point through other examples but don't dispute these monstrosities.
Rabbie
#8 Posted by Rabbie on 16 Apr 2010 at 21:24 PM
However, there is a world of difference between ascribing the quote from an unnamed source at Urban Realm and claiming Duany visited and condemned Denny.

It's also the case that Duany's claim that there has been no good housing built in Scotland post-1945 can be disputed also. Let's hope that he isn't going to be wheeled out for the next few months as the 'expert' on Scottish architecture, and out of context quotes used, when he clearly has little idea.

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