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Carbuncle award nominations sought

October 9 2012

Carbuncle award nominations sought
Urban Realm is putting Scotland’s towns under the spotlight once more with the launch of its annual Carbuncle Awards, the awards scheme which recognises the most dismal places and spaces.

Nominations received thus far include Newmilns (Ayrshire), Leslie (Fife) and Broxburn (Edinburgh),  places which harbour a variety of ills ranging from the collapse of the lace industry, an open cast quarry and ‘dreary’ shops. We think there are worse out there however and that’s why we’re calling for nominations from residents, commuters and tourists with tales of their own forgotten spaces to add to our list of nominations so that a shortlist can be drawn up in the New Year.

Of course it’s easy to carp about what has gone wrong but much harder to implement genuine reform; that is why Urban Realm will be campaigning for discrepancies in the application of the VAT rate between new build (0%)and refurbishment (20%), as well as amending leasehold legislation to make it more economic for tenants to purchase and renovate abandoned properties.

Urban Realm editor John Glenday said: “Our towns are under greater pressure than ever before, suffering continued dissipation of resources and fragmentation of once close knit communities. From flagging retail, to an exodus of the young and a planning and legal system that often seems perversely designed to throttle rather than nurture.

“The Carbuncle Awards are an antidote to this insidious decline which has hit our towns since the onset of recession in 2008 acting as a doorstop for decay and a springboard for future prosperity.”

The 2012-13 award winners will be revealed in March.

Image taken by Mark Chalmers.


The boss
#1 Posted by The boss on 9 Oct 2012 at 13:41 PM
"a planning and legal system that often seems perversely designed to throttle rather than nurture"

Really? John Glenday has clearly been listening to good ole Mr Cameron a little too much. The planning system is always sought out as being a bottleneck to economy. That is until a developer comes along and tries to erect a whopping big development scheme at the foot of folks gardens.

The issue isnt the planning system, its a lack of investment and innovation thats cause the problems.
Alan Henderson
#2 Posted by Alan Henderson on 9 Oct 2012 at 14:07 PM
Leslie? Who nominated it? This is a medieval Scottish Burgh with both an old town and new town sitting astride a ridge below the Lomond Hills, which forms a great backcloth. A few empty shop units do not a carbuncle make.
#3 Posted by Graeme on 9 Oct 2012 at 17:32 PM
I say let's have nominations for the worst buildings rather than towns as has been the trend in the 'carbunckies' over the last few years.
My nomination is for 3DReid's CWG Velodrome- a talked-up, but awful, built manifestation of 'lowest-common-denominator-brief-box-ticking' with barely any flair, imagination or skill.
#4 Posted by Tenement on 9 Oct 2012 at 21:39 PM
Really? Wost building has to be Archial's 123 Princes Street. Absolutely horrendous. A mish mash of styles and materials. Looks like two buildngs plonked on top of each other.
#5 Posted by Joe on 10 Oct 2012 at 12:20 PM
I agree - 3D Reids velodrome. What a wasted opportunity.
#6 Posted by karlyn on 10 Oct 2012 at 12:36 PM
nothing can possibly beat the monstrosity that is the shawlands shopping centre in the south side of glasgow. We are so in love with heritage that nothing of any great contemporary architectural merit actually gets built and when it does it's usually low budget and short termist
May Anderson
#7 Posted by May Anderson on 10 Oct 2012 at 14:05 PM
Re nomination of Newmilns.
Why did you choose to show a road which is some distance from the town centre, albeit an important one when the A71 is blocked!!. Incidentally several buildings in the town received architectural awards.
Who nominated Newmilns. I can only presume it is the same person who nominated Darvel before. Are they working through the Irvine Valley?
#8 Posted by Aislinn on 10 Oct 2012 at 14:08 PM
I have to agree about the Shawlands Arcade. It's a nightmare of a building!
#9 Posted by Bill on 10 Oct 2012 at 14:09 PM
"The Carbuncle Awards are an antidote to this insidious decline...." Nah! Not having it!. The Carbuncle Awards are... a joke thought up over a coffee break in the office of Urban Realm now used to point and laugh at where the poor people live. Stick to targeting single buildings deliberately designed by the great and the good rather than towns that run down as a result of economic conditions over which the locals have no say. If not, then simply rename them the Snobbery Awards. Do something more positive Urban Realm rather than this negative annual pantomime.
#10 Posted by Graeme on 10 Oct 2012 at 17:38 PM
Here here Bill! Couldn't agree with the sentiment of your post more!
#11 Posted by Gareth on 10 Oct 2012 at 18:15 PM
The Shawlands Arcade wouldn't look out of place in Pripyat. Last time I was there I watched a rat run from the front of the arcade down the steep ramps and under the front wheel of a slow moving bus. It's that bad even rats would rather commit suicide than live with shame of being seen there.
#12 Posted by mark on 10 Oct 2012 at 20:35 PM
I suggest certain streets in Glasgow:

1-Sauchiehall Street - Fallen from its previous life as Glasgow's premier shopping street, this neglected part of town is grim. Really neglected, permanently covered in vomit and chips it is a real wasted opportunity.

2- The M8 Riviera. Anyone ever going to do anything about this?

3-Oatlands. Horrid waste of an opportunity to transform excellent piece of the city

4-Cathedral Street - supposed to be main route to Glasgow's most historic building. Often tourists stray up here looking confused. Feels extremely unsafe out-with business hours

5-Woodside - must have been conceived during architects excanghe with Ukraine. Un-human

Further east - why not nominate Princes Street? Potential to be most beautiful street in Europe yet provides horrible crushed and busy experience for pedestrians, dug up roads, mass of double Decker buses and vacant units.
Partick Bateman
#13 Posted by Partick Bateman on 11 Oct 2012 at 09:22 AM
Arbroath - a place so run down, dull and depressing that coastal erosion is a spectator sport.
#14 Posted by Egbert on 11 Oct 2012 at 10:46 AM
A couple of nominations:

1. Dunfermline - historic and important town with a ton of potential being smothered by a tide of woeful and abysmally-planned suburbia, fringed with nowhere-place developments that continue to drain the life out of the centre. What could be a cultural hub advertises itself to the world with a sea of beige-brick noddy boxes and a vast and inhuman Amazon warehouse, a monument to mediocrity and stunted ambition.

2. Inverness - pretty much the same, only with loads of Tescos instead of Amazon, a stunning location squandered, and utterly misguided ambitions to swallow up the whole of the A96 corridor.

What's tragic is these are Scotland's 'successful' places - some of the fastest-growing towns in Europe. Their failure to set even a competant standard for their own development speaks volumes about the standard of local government in Scotland today.

Oh and small point - isn't Broxburn actually in West Lothian?
#15 Posted by Sven on 11 Oct 2012 at 21:30 PM

View Dunfermline as a northern suburb of Edinburgh, which is would be if the Forth was not in the way and the suburban housing makes sense. Edinburgh is basically hemmed in and high house prices have forced people to the surrounding towns. Hence all the developments in the Lothians and Fife and the depopulation of children in the cities schools as families move to houses away from the flats that dominate Edinburgh now. While I am not a fan of english style brick buildings in Scotland, what else would you build for families? A 2 bed flat in a multi story? Perhaps make the builders base their design on Fife vernacular buildings, recreating Culross, Anstruther and St.Andrews?

You mention central hub and that is a reason (the millions of public money was what done it) that Amazon moved their distribution centre to the town. Hubs have erm, hub sized buildings.

Inverness made the same planning mistakes from Councillors (was there some sort of brain wasting disease in the 1960s?) as many. They knocked down many historic buildings to be replaced with concrete flat roofed cliffs - Bridge Street is a good example. You have the lovely river Ness with great views over to the Black Isle and Moray Firth, the fields towards the west and Ness Islands and the Sandstone rubble and ashlar buildings on the other bank flanked with a 3 story grey concrete building next to Inverness Castle. Worse, a huge service entrance is built facing the river and that view. Did the architect not visit the site before he drew the plans? Perhaps he hated himself and the town?
#16 Posted by tony on 20 Oct 2012 at 19:51 PM
i live in newmilns -_- this town hasnt got long left

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