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Radical request

Pauline McLean | 18:17 UK time, Monday, 20 September 2010

I'm not sure whether the Carbuncle awards have been vindicated by the fact that a group of residents have ASKED for their town to win it.

Admittedly, one of the biggest problems of the awards, was the way they were foisted on unsuspecting passers-by in damp and dreich town centres.

At least in the case of Denny, where the Carbuncle was handed over at lunchtime today, the residents actually requested it.

Well, some of them.

A small group of campaigners believe the resulting publicity will be the catalyst they need to speed up regeneration of their town centre, so they argued if John O'Groats, the actual winner, wouldn't claim the title, they would.

Brilliant location

Their town centre - described by judges in their citation as like a horrific concrete Battenburg cake - is universally detested.

Campaigner Brian McCabe insists he didn't take the decision to apply for the accolade lightly.

Denny has a brilliant location, rolling hills in abundance and some lovely old stone cottages.

But like a lot of Scottish towns, it finds itself lumbered with an ugly, decaying town centre.

Mr McCabe and his fellow campaigners believe the council is dragging its feet on redevelopment, hence this radical move.

An eyesore

Falkirk Council, on the other hand, say they're disappointed by the move - and don't believe Mr McCabe represents the whole community.

They say their development has been delayed by the current recession, but that planning permission permitted, demolition of the old centre and construction of the new one, will begin next August.

They also dismiss suggestions that they haven't kept the community informed, citing the 12,000 newsletters they circulated to households in the area last week.

And while most people in Denny agree the centre is an eyesore, not everyone agrees the town should have laid claim to the carbuncle.

Even as we gather in the town centre to see the award handed over, a local man whose father runs a business in the town, arrives to tell the campaigners he thinks they're wrong and that the award will simply further stigmatise the town.

Temporary trophy

Sharon Tait, a local mum, says it couldn't get any worse.

She wants to encourage people to support the businesses in the town centre, but admits it's been a battle for years and that's why they've decided to stand up and do something about it.

They're now one of a growing number of communities taking their campaigns online - with their own Facebook site.

Brian McCabe, meanwhile, hopes the Carbuncle will only be a temporary trophy.

By next year, if work is under way, he hopes the town can hand it back (if anyone is keep to accept it) but if the centre remains undeveloped, he has no qualms about once again claiming Scotland's most unwanted accolade for his home town.


  • Comment number 1.

    As a resident of Denny I am not sure of the point of this award, the town centre would not look out of place in war torn Beirut, complete with scaffolding protecting pedestrians from falling masonry sorry no offence to Beirut at least it is improving, perhaps a more fitting award would be for broken promises by councils! We have been promised this renewal for some time, again an award for waffle or procrastination, then Falkirk council would win hands down. I have no doubt the council will explain all, see point of award for Waffle. I suppose there is always money for councillors expenses to discuss the regeneration.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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