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