Glasgow & West Scotland

Linwood wins 'dismal' town award

Media captionLinwood shocked judges with the state of its "decaying town centre"

Linwood has been named as Scotland's most dismal town in the annual Carbuncle awards.

The Renfrewshire town has become the latest recipient of the "Plook on a Plinth", awarded by Urban Realm magazine.

The award was set up in 2000 with the aim of provoking debate about the quality of development in many of Scotland's towns and cities.

Linwood beat Fort William and Nairn for the title "worst town".

The town, once famed as the manufacturing base for the Hillman Imp, is said to have shocked the judges with the "decrepit state of its decaying town centre".

They said it was stuck in a state of limbo as Tesco deliberated whether or not to proceed with a major redevelopment.

But judges said it was not a lost cause and could easily be turned around.

Previous winners of the Carbuncle award include John O'Groats, Glenrothes, Coatbridge and Cumbernauld.

This year's award will be handed over to the 'Linwood Sucks' community group.

'Too dangerous'

Tom Burke, editor of, said of his hometown: "The best progress in Linwood in 20 years is seeing the local chemist and opticians being housed in temporary buildings as the shopping centre was becoming too dangerous for them to continue doing business there.

He added: "I've spent the best part of four years in Iraq and thinking of some of the positive reconstruction work that's taken place there it's actually better than this."

Urban Realm editor John Glenday said: "It's been three months of trudging around some of the country's darkest corners but in the end judging for the 2011 Carbuncle Awards didn't prove too challenging, Linwood's plight was simply too great to ignore.

Image caption The opticians is housed in portable buildings

"Scotland's first shopping centre is also its worst, leaving Linwood as a town without a heart - but it isn't a lost cause.

"It could be turned around and turned around quite quickly. To do so however requires action, it is in this spirit as a catalyst for change that Linwood has been awarded the Carbuncle award."

Councillor Iain Nicolson, convener of Renfrewshire Council's planning and economic policy development board, said: "It's rather ironic that Linwood has been given this award just at the time when there are major projects under way to improve the area's environment and economic prospects.

"The much-maligned shopping centre is being replaced.

"Renfrewshire Council has worked with Tesco to bring forward a planning application which has now been approved and which will help regenerate the area along with investment and new jobs."

Councillor Nicolson said a new £23m community sports hub was also scheduled to open in spring 2013.

He added: "Overall, Linwood is not a community in decline but one which has practical proposals well under way to improve its future."

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