Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Town named Scotland's 'most dismal'

New Cumnock has been named Scotland's most dismal town (Mark Chalmers/PA)

New Cumnock in Ayrshire has been named Scotland's "most dismal town".

It was selected for this year's Carbuncle Award by architecture and design magazine Urban Realm.

The prize was set up in 2000 to provoke debate about the quality of Scotland's town and city development.

New Cumnock, nominated for the award in 2009, risks "irreversible decline" if nothing is done to improve its look, organisers said.

"Since (it was nominated) the town has taken one step forward and two steps back with the completion of an impressive new primary school overshadowed by the threatened closure of its town hall and sell-off of the Arthur Memorial church - on its 100th anniversary no less," they said.

"These losses have been compounded by the continued haemorrhaging of shops on the High Street and a general absence of maintenance on derelict properties, raising the very real risk that a tipping point into irreversible decline could be reached soon if action isn't taken now."

New Cumnock beat off competition from Newmilns, also in East Ayrshire, to take the Plook on the Plinth trophy.

The other runners-up are Fort William in the Highlands, Kirkintilloch in East Dunbartonshire, Motherwell in North Lanarkshire and Paisley in Renfrewshire.

Fiona Lees, chief executive of East Ayrshire Council said the town faces challenges but that the Carbuncle Award is "very damaging" to community efforts to boost the town.

"While there is no doubt that New Cumnock has been hit hard by the closure of deep mining in Ayrshire in the 1980s, with the consequential loss of population and relatively high levels of unemployment, the town retains its strong community spirit," she said.

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