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11th-hour listing bid could thwart Cumbernauld town hub plan

May 12 2022

11th-hour listing bid could thwart Cumbernauld town hub plan

Historic Environment Scotland is seeking views on whether it should step in and list Cumbernauld Town Centre amidst moves to demolish the iconic modernist 'megastructure'.

Lauded as a beacon of town centre planning at the time of its conception between 1963 and 1972 more recent years have been less kind to the ailing structure as it battles to remain relevant for modern lifestyles.

These shifts have prompted North Lanarkshire Council to pursue a blank slate 'town hub' strategy for the site by bringing the elevated mix of shops, offices and civic spaces back down to Earth.

The public is being asked whether they consider the surviving elements of the structure, much altered from the original vision, to be of special architectural or historic interest.

Responses received will help inform whether the heritage agency will press ahead with listing, subject to its own research and assessment.

Dara Parsons, head of designations at HES, said: “Listing is a way of recognising and celebrating our most important built heritage, and ensuring its significance is taken into account in future decisions.

“Before we reach a decision in the case of Cumbernauld Town Centre, we’re keen that as part of this process people have an opportunity to have their say on whether they think this building is of special historic or architectural interest. We would encourage anyone with an interest in the building, or with information that will help us to further understand its significance, to take part in our consultation.”

The consultation will run until 12 June.  

The love it or loathe it structure has developed a Marmite reputation
The love it or loathe it structure has developed a Marmite reputation


Ian Duerr
#1 Posted by Ian Duerr on 12 May 2022 at 13:03 PM
One of the key concerns about NLC’s proposal must be what would replace the structure. Regardless of what people might think about its architectural style or functionality, marmite or otherwise, the building undeniably has a presence and appearance that is completely unique. Having viewed NLCs ideas for its replacement, it would seem that all redevelopment has to offer is more of the ubiquitous sheds that can be found in any retail park, something akin to the newer parts of the Livingston town centre. It might work and people might be ambivalent to it, but at what cost? Cumbernauld town centre has no historic character to fall back on, it would be sheds and no more. It should be possible to at the very least save the most striking aspects of the structure, and, with some imagination, remove those parts that are failing and integrate new structures and facilities.
#2 Posted by yup on 12 May 2022 at 13:14 PM
Couldn't have put it better myself #1, completely agree.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#3 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 12 May 2022 at 13:33 PM
The town centre is a local joke.

No matter the good intentions / no matter the ideals behind the design -- a good idea poorly implemented is still a shambles.

But it was never idea was never good in the first place -- Aldous Huxley done in crayon by a blind toddler.

Tuscan hilltown set out in the clayfields of East Dumbarton -- not good.

And then there is the story of the A80 -- quick access to Glasgow / Stirling / Falkirk so any town centre would have struggled.

Probably deserves a reprieve to shame the felt tip fairies who thought it up in the first place.

The CDC backed the wrong donkey -- it only has a place in the local public consciousness due to the Golden Eagle / Woolco / Pappa Docs.

They should have built the town centre in the valley around the railway station.

#4 Posted by MV on 12 May 2022 at 14:31 PM
The building needs to be demolished because it’s a monstrosity. Keeping buildings because they were theoretically a good idea, but don’t work in the real world, is madness. I’m afraid that small sheds would be preferable to this abomination, that’s how bad it is.

Move on. If you can design something better than small sheds that are sustainable, both environmentally and economically, then even better!
#5 Posted by David on 12 May 2022 at 15:10 PM
I really do not see any use in the listing of this structure. It has been altered so much over the years that any architectural merit that the structure may have had has become eroded over the years, not to mention the dilapidated state that it is currently in will make it really difficult to find an investor. This is not an at risk Victorian building that the public loves and wants to see restored to its former glory, it is despised by virtually everyone, most importantly by the inhabitants of the town, and the bottom line is that it does not work. Surely a redevelopment of the town centre could look to Glasgow and some of the successful regeneration projects of the inner city there, such as Anderston, New Gorbals, New Laurieston or Sighthill? Build proper streets, human scale, mixed use, ground floor retail with residential above, public amenities, educational facilities. Focus on active travel, walking, cycling and minimise car use. It isn't that difficult. Funnily enough, I very much doubt that those calling for its retention actually go and use the centre.
Ian Duerr
#6 Posted by Ian Duerr on 12 May 2022 at 16:14 PM
#5 I reckon quite a few who want to see it go don’t visit either. I do use the centre on occasion and to describe it as grim would be an understatement. In its current form that is.
#7 Posted by Tara on 12 May 2022 at 16:35 PM
# I agree completely. The lack of imagination shown in the replacement scheme is utterly depressing. There must be some way of taking some elements and re-imaging them. They need a proper architect and masterplan. Dare I say, a competition?
Jimbob Tanktop
#8 Posted by Jimbob Tanktop on 12 May 2022 at 21:35 PM
In fairness to Cumbernauld Town Centre, if it does go the number of buildings in Cumbernauld that people have an opinion on will reduce to zero.
#9 Posted by Ak on 27 May 2022 at 07:16 AM
Having and still working in the town centre its clear that many of the existing firms will have no new premises provided in the new plans, so many jobs will be lost . Additionally new rules are being set out nationally as demolitions are incredibly harmful to the environment. Agree with above , refurbishment and redesign utilising existing buildings rather than building more sheds and much better for the environment and retaining jobs .

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