The winner of the Worst Of The East title (given to the ugliest new building in Suffolk) has been announced. It's the Belvedere Road Retail Park in Lowestoft - voted for by you from a shortlist of five.
Throughout September 2006 we hosted an online poll using a shortlist of buildings selected by the Suffolk Preservation Society - with BBC Radio Suffolk supporting what Prince Charles would probably call the "anti-carbuncle campaign".
The poll results
Total votes: 2084
Belvedere Road Retail Park, Lowestoft 750 (36%)
The five buildings shortlisted all have what the SPS's director Richard Ward describes as "a total disregard for the principles of good and sympathetic design, with no obvious effort made to blend in with their surroundings."
Ipswich Borough Council, Russell Road
Starting in the county town of Ipswich - it's the new Ipswich Borough Council offices on Russell Road to the rear of Portman Road's South/Churchman's Stand. The SPS says the building's in marked contrast to the County Council's Endeavour House on the other side of the road: "A missed opportunity for the Council and local planning authority to show to developers in the town how to produce first class modern architecture. It fails to match the high standards achieved at Endeavour House."
Cineworld, Bury St.Edmunds
Next up is the multiplex cinema in Bury St.Edmunds. The SPS says it's already successfully lobbied the planners to improve some aspects of the Cattle Market Scheme, but they're not happy with Cineworld on the other side of Parkway: "Clutter barriers, huge advertising boards, a pokey dark entrance and car fumes welcome cinema-goers to this new building. This is a lost opportunity to demonstrate a really good example of modern architecture in an appropriate setting."
Belvedere Rd. Retail Park
In Lowestoft, the SPS says Belvedere Road Retail Park seems to have failed to meet its own targets: "A big box with tiny windows, adorned with features that purport to be in harmony with the riverside setting but in fact, the wavy roof line canopies look more like Concorde than any sea or river going vessel. Its ugliness perhaps explains why the building is still unoccupied!"
KFC, Newton Rd., Sudbury
Just down the road from the SPS's office in Lavenham, the Society could do nothing to prevent the Kentucky Fried Chicken going up on Newton Road in Sudbury: "A standard, corporate design that has no regard to its surroundings. An important gateway into this delightful market town is marked with a weak and ugly building – dominated by the portrait of its founder!"
Another of Suffolk's delightful market towns is Woodbridge, but the SPS says the main shopping street - The Thoroughfare - has been disfigured by the new (as yet un-named) retail building next to Woolworths: "Adjoining and attached to the pretty and listed existing Woolworths, the dominating new building is out of scale with the conservation area in which it is located. It appears to be a hideous imitation of the grade 1 listed Shire Hall on Market Hill and is a disgrace to Woodbridge."
Richard Ward says the Suffolk Preservation Society is into pointing fingers in public: "We aim to present the architect - if they are still in business - with the 2006 award. Reflecting the nature of the issue, the award will be something suitably eye-catching!"
"The Society is fulsome in its praise for good design such as the Willis building in Ipswich, Canon Avent's extension in Glemsford and the Ballingdon Bridge in Sudbury. However, we intends to shame those responsible for diluting the architectural distinctiveness of Suffolk and to stimulate questions about how the local authority planning process lets these things get built."
last updated: 17/11/2008 at 14:05
Have Your Say
Are there any other buildings that you think should have been shortlisted?
CALLEN [The Voice]
Bearer o' truth
Sarah Collingworth (Bury St.Edmunds)
Amy (aged 7)
Mr K. Tester