Denny asks to have 'most dismal' town Carbuncle trophy
Residents of a town have collected the Carbuncle award for the most dismal place in Scotland - after asking organisers for the trophy.
Denny residents approached the award's organisers after learning no-one wanted to pick up the award on behalf of this year's winners, John O'Groats.
Denny had been named as a runner-up in design magazine Urban Realm's list of the country's most awful towns.
Residents hope the award will speed up regeneration plans for the town.
PAULINE McLEAN'S BLOG
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.
The Plook-on-the-Plinth trophy was collected on Monday by a campaign group called Walk Around the Block, which has staged a series of protests over a block of condemned flats in the town centre.
Last March, a planned £15m regeneration of the run-down centre was halted after developers told Falkirk Council that it was not financially viable to proceed at a time of recession.
Then in June, the council said Denny's regeneration was "set to progress" with a less ambitious plan, which would see the block demolished in the next two years.
Walk Around the Block member Brian McCabe said many residents wanted to see it pulled down as soon as possible.
He said: "The town centre looks like Beirut on a bad day. It's a blot on the landscape.
"It's a lovely town but as soon as prospective house-buyers drive down the main street, the deal is off.
"By accepting this award, we want to tap into Urban Realm's design expertise and approach Falkirk Council to see what can be done."
Mr McCabe added: "Presently Falkirk Council are not listening. This has to change."
Falkirk Council leader Craig Martin said: "It is deeply disappointing that anyone in Denny thinks this is a positive move for the town.
"Falkirk Council already has a plan in place for the regeneration of Denny town centre, alongside developer Henry Boot, and the response from the majority of the community has been very positive.
"The council has no interest in the Carbuncle awards - our priority is transforming Denny town centre."
He added: "John O'Groats are clearly offended and united in their refusal to accept it. Unfortunately there are a few individuals in Denny who are keen to have it, regardless of the feelings of the wider community."'Unprecedented'
Urban Realm reporter John Glenday said the trophy handover to Denny was unprecedented.
He said: "This is the first time in the history of the Carbuncle that anyone has stepped up to the plate to collect the trophy.
"It is also the first time we have been solicited by the residents of one of our chosen towns to take up ownership of the trophy.
"We have always been at pains to stress that although, on the face of it, this trophy is an unwelcome sight, it should in fact be harnessed as a force for good."
Mr Glenday added: "Our Plook will provide Denny with just the catalyst it needs in order to spur Falkirk Council into action and articulate their plight to the wider country."