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   Inside Out - South West: Monday September 25, 2006

Seven architectural blunders

Web vote
Land's End
"We live in a beautiful region, but sometimes architects, planners and developers really should think twice."
Jeremy Gould

Inside Out looks the most hideous buildings in the South West.

In a quest to identify the worst blots on the landscape, Jeremy Gould, Professor of Architecture at the University of Plymouth, presents his personal view of the 'seven architectural blunders' of the South West.

He takes viewers on a journey around the South West to look at the buildings and developments which may be necessary for our modern society, but in his opinion, should have been done differently, or not at all.

What's particularly interesting is that they are all recent developments, all built in the last few decades.

Blunder busters

Plymouth Dome
Plymouth Dome - eyesore or great facility?

Here's Jeremy Gould's seven South West architectural blunders - see if you agree with his list of blots on the landscape.

* Plymouth Dome - located on one of the most beautiful promenades of the South West, this 1970s development jars when seen alongside the ancient Citadel and the well preserved Victorian seafront.

* Modern housing developments - Gould visits several housing estates in Yeovil as examples of recent anonymous and characterless residential developments.

* Bovey Tracey industrial estate - located close to the glorious moors, this 95 acre area of tin sheds and tarmac is hardly a substitute for the natural environment which has been removed to make way for it.

"We have a great historic tradition in the South West of making beautiful towns and villages. So why have we lost that tradition? Why do we put up with ugly ghettos like this?"
Professor Jeremy Gould

* Large roundabout above the River Exe - planned in the 1950s and built in the 1960s, Gould describes this as "an ugly monstrosity".

* CLS Laundry Building - opened in 2002, it's important for the local economy but it doesn't look good.

* The Land's End Experience - Land's End is one of the most iconic locations on the British coast, but this themed experience got the thumbs down from our architecture expert.

* Drake Circus - the new Drake Circus Shopping Centre in Plymouth city centre is a much needed new investment, but the design of this was done in the 1980s and then 'restyled', resulting in a 'pick-and-mix' of styles and materials.

Jeremy Gould calls it an "insult to Plymouth... an ugly cacophony of materials that have nothing to do with either old or new Plymouth".

This is a personnel view and you may agree or disagree with Professor Gould.

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Lottery

Lottery balls
Lottery funding - is the South West losing out?

Inside Out looks at the parts of the South West losing out in the bid to get a share of Lottery millions and discovers that, when it comes to grants and funding, it's not always a fair game.

We enlist the help of local economics expert, Peter Gripaios, who reveals that the South West comes off worse than the national average in terms of the amount of funding received per person since the Lottery began.

These are the telling statistics:

* National Average funding per person is £270.
* The Inside Out South West region is £234.
* East Devon receives just £77.
*The big winner is the city of Westminster with £3,227.

Pretty but Poor

According to the UK Lottery Forum, Devon has as much chance as anywhere else and just needs to make more bids.

But Lottery funders do have a remit to target deprived areas.

And for the people who've already had their bids turned down, it feels like they're being wrongly penalised for living in a 'picture postcard' area.

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Elbury Farm

Stonechat
Stonechat - winter visitor to Elbury Farm

Chris Packham returns to Elbury Farm for a look at winter wildlife.

We've been filming at this organic farm across the seasons for nearly four years, and every time we return there are new surprises.

Despite the chilly weather, there's plenty of food to be found at Elbury for scavenging birds.

Dung dinners

Dung is the great provider here, bursting with insects and grubs.

Like most farmers in the South West, John Kittow is struggling to cover his costs and make a living, being forced to diversify into producing lamb.

Despite his struggles he continues to manage the farm for wildlife and the abundance of farmland birds is a great sign that Elbury is doing all the right things.

The farm is especially rich in bird life, and Chris Packham spots five different types of thrush and dubs it "thrushtastic".

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