"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns

"Religion? No thanks. I prefer not to outsource my brainwashing." - Bunc
Trying to get your average Joe creationist to understand the phrase scientific theory is as hard as getting a fish to enjoy mountaineering. Its an unimagined world for them - it requires a complete reversal of their normal modes of thinking and being. The fact that humans could explain the complexities of this world without a creating God is a world view they cannot grasp. It's like asking a tuna if it appreciates the view from the top of Mount Everest. Bunc

Jan 27, 2009

New Cumnock Carbuncle Shames Council

New Cumnock, a village in East Ayrshire, has been nominated for one of the 2009 "Carbuncle Awards" - a move that should shame the powers that be in East Ayrshire. The award, the "Plook on the Plinth", is given to "the most dismal town is Scotland".

On the face of it this might be seen as a slap in the face for the residents of New Cumnock but it is not, far from it. According to Gordon Young, editor of Prospect magazine and architecturescotland.co.uk, which runs the award:

“A primary criteria of the Carbuncles is that the towns shortlisted must have real potential, which local leaders for one reason or another are failing to exploit. We are not interested in simply criticising deprived areas which are dismal through no fault of their own. We believe the truly depressing places are the ones which could be great, but are stifled by a lack of imagination, creativity and passion.”

Gordon Young said that New Cumnock,

"exuded a sense that it has simply been abandoned by its local authority. Despite having excellent rail links, being sited in one of the most scenic parts of Scotland, having a range of facilities including Scotland’s last open air pool and great heritage including links to Robert Burns, its population has halved in recent years. A programme of demolishing housing nobody apparently wants is now underway and the main street is beginning to resemble a ghost town. One senses that only the valiant efforts of a few members of the local community are preventing this town’s total collapse."

The carbuncles "Plook on the Plinth" nomination is in reality a slap in the face for the planners, policy makers and architects have who have failed New Cumnock.

Here is a village that nestles in one of the most picturesque parts of Ayrshire. It has strong connections with Robert Burns Scotland's and Ayrshire's Poet. It is a village that should have been well prepared to participate in the Homecoming Scotland events.

Instead the visitor is presented with a main street lined with derelict and semi derelict buildings. Many of these neglected buildings are architecturally interesting, if only some care was shown over them. As happens so often however the most likely outcomes are either that they will continue to be left abandoned or they will simply be knocked down.

So the residents of New Cumnock shouldn't take it as an affront to them that their village has been nominated for this award, they should see it as a sharp criticism of those in power in East Ayrshire Council who have failed so dismally to protect their heritage.

If you wish to vote for the award go to The Carbuncles


Aulyin said...

I liked this article because it told it as it is.
I think that the Carbuncle is a good idea. It makes us look with a more critical eye at our surroundings but instead of saying "Whit a mess, the place is deid!" we should be asking "What can WE do about it. Don't keep blaming "the cooncillors", tell them you're not pleased and ask them what can be done about it.
We've sat on our backsides watching these places deteriorate, it's time to clean up our tract.

Bunc said...

You're right of course that everyone has a responsibility - at minimum to hold their elected officials to account for their actions.

Aulyin said...

OK Bunc?
Prospect should do follow-up stories 12 months after naming their Carbuncle "winner".

What have the councils been doing over the last year?
Have Prospect been advising?
What use is the Carbuncle Award if things are still the same or worse?

Bunc said...

Hi Aulyin - I see this post of mine is now gracing the pages of the Urban realm discussion forum courtesy of your good self. Thanks for posting it with the link - good etiquette.

I agree with the follow up - otherwise its just a coule of weeks of shame in the media and then nothing. If peple who have responsibility for blight knew that there was going to be follow up then maybe something would get done.

Maybe Prospect should sign up some local "monitors" who would report back on the state of affairs re previous award winners.

I could be wrong but when I look at the village not a great deal seems to have changed. this is really a shame because like many of the villages tey do have great potential.

Aulyin said...

"Maybe Prospect should sign up some local "monitors" who would report back on the state of affairs re previous award winners."

Looks as though "The Barnacles" are just forgotten about mate. No follow up. No help. No second thoughts.

Hope they prove me wrong.

Co-ops closing down throughout Scotland makes things even worse.

Bunc said...

I was checking out the carbuncles for this year and it looks like New Cumnock has been nominated again. I'll need to do a follow up.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bunc,
What's been happening with the Carbuncle Awards?
More closures along the main street of New Cumnock but some small signs of renovation here and there. No thanks to the Award nomination though, which I see one town rejected, another asked for.
The first eyesore at the entrance to New Cumnock will soon be demolished and replaced with a state of the art Tam o'Shanter Cafe. See the plans at:

Bunc said...

New Cumnock missed it this time round - I think it went to John o Groats or if I remember right - I was reading it a few weeks back. I'll check those plans out - I had heard there was to be development there but I hadn't seen any specific plans.

Anonymous said...

John o' Groats won it; didn't want it: Denny asked for it.

Bunc said...

I can understand folk in a community wanting to get the award to highlight lack of local action. John o Groats probably weren't too keen because they already have a flow of tourists and the would be worried that it would effect that. Denny folk had less to lose on that score maybe.

It's always seemed to me that the tourist potential of New Cumnock and surrounding area could be improved.

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