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13 November 2014

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You are in: Suffolk > Places > Places features > Suffolk's eyesores

Clyde Tower demolition

Suffolk's eyesores

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%)
Cineworld, Bury St Edmunds                  688 (33%)
Ipswich Borough Council, Russell Road    417 (20%)
KFC, Newton Road, Sudbury                   146 (7%)
The Thoroughfare, Woodbridge                83  (4%)

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

Ipswich Borough Council, Russell Road

The candidates

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

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 Road Retail Park, Lowestoft

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!"

Kentucky Fried Chicken, Sudbury

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!"

Woolworths, Woodbridge

Thoroughfare, Woodbridge

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."

The award

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
created: 28/09/2006

Have Your Say

Are there any other buildings that you think should have been shortlisted?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Connor Read
i think ness point in lowestoft is a issar but a regeneration project is now being undertaken.

Maxwell Allen
The view of Lowestoft from the beach looking north. What are those awful buildings going up?

CALLEN [The Voice]
Any mcdonalds shop front in any town is an eyesore! I remember a time when market towns had a unique character all their own but our so called modern planners want plastic neon shop fronts everywhere, Blind fold someone and drop him into any town high street in the uk, remove his blindfold and ask him what towns he is in!? its time we got rid of americano architectual terrorists from our planning offices..bring back quality, chracter, Englishness to our town centres. CALLEN [The Voice]

Declan Love.
there is nothing wrong with the lowestoft shop's. it is modern. this is the way of the world is going to be.

Some of the 1960's, 1970's and some 80's buildings (not all) are not eyesores, an example of good designs from that era include 1960's and 1970's parts of Swindon and the Queensgate at Peterborough. Only if they revamped the overpass and restored the extior a bit to the original 80's paint scheme. However every building built between the 1960's/1970's thats been built in Huntingdon is hurrendous! Another example is 'modern' housing estates, not like Cambourne, thats v.v.good. I mean those that try to look like bad 'chocolate box' houses that badly imitate Regency period houses from the 1900's whos windows replicate those from WWII pillboxes. It wouldn't be so bad if the buildings were actually proportionally correct! but there not. Take Hinchingbrooke's new 'Townhouses', its not a town. Townhouses are meant for cities and towns and places where space is at a premium, its like putting a skyscraper in a village!

melvyn hall
the old tuttles store, station square lowestoft

The newly refurbished Ipswich Sports Club, a waste of £650,000. The place looks awful now.

Bearer o' truth
To the person who suggested KFC, dont make me laugh 'sudbury a delightful market town' pardon my french but its a ****hole

David Lister
Re the comments made by Bob Mouser, as someone who works at Endeavour House whoever he got his information from is in the minority. Most workers appreciate the new modern buildings and the flexible working that it facilitates, there may be a lot of people in there but there is enough space, in addition architectually it is a breath of fresh air for Ipswich!

They are only buildings! Why get so worked up because they look "ugly" or "stand out". Its stupid.

Greg Graham
However bad the cinema looks, its definitely better than what we had before!

KFC Sudbury, Who passed it suitable? Just disgraceful!

Suzanne Talbott
The bus station in Bury St Edmunds is a awful looking building from some angles it looks like a big top But the cinema come in at a good second to this

Dorothy Woods
Along with the dreadful building in the middle of Woodbridge the out of scale development of executive flats built on the old Gas Works site is just as much an eyesore and overpowers the whole line of buildings on that side of the road. The bed Company were refused permission to put another floor on their building but permission was given by Planners for the building next door to go up2 more floors. Look closely at Woodbridge and you will see just what a pig's ear has been made of the town over the last 5 years. It has totally lost the plot and is no longer worthy of the descripton of 'medieval'. It has obliterated much of it's history and it will soon be completely lost within another decade, thanks to development, planning and lack of pride in it's past.

Johnnie Hearn
The Genzyme Tower in Haverhill It is awfullly designed and the colour of thge tower is disgusting

Ipswich Borough Council's new buildings are shocking. They're drab and dull and made worse by being between two bright new buildings - Crown Court and Endeavour House. The Belvedere Road building in Lowestoft in also pretty poor and well worth its nomination - although it would no doubt look better if it was occupied.

Sarah Collingworth (Bury St.Edmunds)
Some weeks after the Cineworld Cinema design,was originally published,my children saw a poster.This,depicted an alternative frontage design,proposed by a Mr.Fulcher:which,I recall,had previously been published in a local newspaper.The proposal had an ellipsoidal tower,above the Cinema entrance,a gently curved roof line,and an overall mid leaf green colour scheme.What struck me,was how my children all thought it looked like something different.Rose said a grassy hill,Isabel said a gliding bird,and Jamie said a spaceship.Could this have been the sort of design,that the Suffolk Preservation Society,would have liked to see?

Lucy Wilson
The Ravenswood Mc Donalds and Shops in Ipswich has to be the worst designed buildings, as it does not fit in with the local area

dave smith
what about the bbc radio suffolk building it dosnt have a use does it?

barbara taylor
agree with the ghastly new building near melton railway station. big grey featureless and altogether ugly

Jema Hopkins
Bury St.Edmunds is a town, with a rare Georgian theatre(currently being restored), and a stunning (new) Cathedral tower:and,oh yes,a Cinema which is successfully disguised,as a restaurant complex.How does a planning system,allow such a thing to happen!?!Please help the Suffolk Preservation Society,to change the planning process:to prevent such absurdities,in our beautiful county.

Norman Foster
I consider the Cineworld Cinema,to be in a league of its own.Unlike the other candidates,this building has the greatest dichotomy,between its exterior,and the product it contains.A Cinema is a place, where the human imagination is projected:in all its colour,drama,and extremes.But,the exterior of this building fails,totally,to express the vast creativity of Film,which, a Cinema has the potential to contain.

Amy (aged 7)
Please vote for our Cinema,I did,it's yucky.

Bury St.Edmunds is an historic market town.And,has recently completed an iconic Cathedral tower.But,the same planning process,has produced the worst new cinema I have ever seen.Bury St.Edmunds offers this microcosm,of good and bad planning extremes.And does,I believe,offer the best candidate,to promote the Suffolk Preservation Society's campaigne.

Vote for the Cineworld Multiplex.What better case study of bad planning is there,than a Cinema with an imagination bypass.

Whilst I may hate the KFC building, I can't help but love the food...

I have to vote for the "dirty bird" building, KFC.

Tony Green
The sheer ugliness of virtually every major development in Ipswich in the 13 years I've lived here makes me wonder if someone's deliberately trying to make the place as horrible as possible. My top three (or should that be "bottom three") are: * The new stand at Ipswich Town. A horrible, totally out-of-proportion lump of nastiness which must be hell for the poor residents whose houses it over-shadows. * Cardinal Park. If whoever designed the buildings here had heard of the phrase "architectural merit", they obviously didn't understand the term. A development so revolting that the pub, which would probably be the ugliest building around were it elsewhere, is actually about the least bad building. ...But the winner is... * The entire development around the Wet Dock and riverside. When the first blocks of flats went up in Fore Street, I don't think I could believe I'd see anything uglier go up round there, but compared to what's gone up on since, they're almost attractive by comparison. There isn't a single new building in this development that's even remotely attractive to look at - particular opprobrium is deserved by the round towers that have been built on Wherstead Road near Rapier street, but the worst of the lot is the horrible block of flats on Coprolite Street. Whover designed this should never be allowed to design another building as long as he or she lives - it's a monstrosity of the worst kind.

I think that ridiculous little building outside the Guildhall in Lavenham is a real eyesore. It ruins that lovely old market square.

Hetty Campbell
When I showed my daughter a picture of the Ipswich Borough Council Building and told her I was going to work there she burst into tears!

I would have to nominate the new flats in wherstead rd, ipswich. ( close to the wolsey car showrooms )as the most hideous i have seen.

Bob Mouser
How come Endeavour House in Ipswich didn't get nominated? Such a waste of space and money and the staff hate the battery chicken working environment there!

New Macdonalds near Ravenswood Estate, ipswich. Fast food outlet next to a 'flagship' housing estate, stupid mistake by a stupid council planning dept.

James Harrison
what happened to the proposed gardens in front of cineworld in bury? they featured on the original plans for the complex but disappeared when building began

Vanessa Andrews
I have always hated and found the Willis glass building sinister with the weird reflections. Many people love it and it will seem a strange choice to some people.

James Miller
The Maktoums house on top of Warren Hill in Newmarket. It looks like a waterworks.

pat ware
i think the new apartments on the wherstead road which look something like ships are hideous

Bob Russell
I hate the Ipswich Borough Council building with every fibre on my being!!1!

jean lawson
I agree with K Tester yhat the building near Malton Station is an eyesore

Geof Butterwick
I'd like to nominate the Deben Industries HQ building on Station Road, Melton. It is totally out of scale with, and dominates, its surroundings, and imposes itself uncompromisingly on the adjacent Suffolk Coast & Heath AONB, which it is literally feet away from. How it got planning permission, heaven knows, but then, it is in the same district as the new "Woolworth's Building" in Woodbridge!

Martin Grimwood
Surely the BT Research Laboratories at Martlesham should be shortlisted

I now reside in South Carolins in the united states,but I am from from your area in England. I just thought you'd like to know that the building does look out of place in comparisan to the usual pretty brick buildings of the countryside in England.I'd also like to let tyou know that Kentucky fried chicken is terrible to eat and tastelss here in the us. Only people go there when they are travelling or are desperate for a quick meal.It tastes nothing like the founders original recipe. When it was sold many years ago to Pepisco they turned it into a tastless meal,as they were in it for the money only. Customer satisfaction and quality does'nt matter in this world today.

This building appears to be a Lego house just dumped in Oak Lane car park. Hideous.

Mr K. Tester
I am pleased to see the worst buildings in Suffolk being named and shamed and agree that the building in Woodbridge totally dominates the area in which it stands and is completely out of character with its surroundings. However, I believe that if you were to take a short trip from Woodbridge to the railway station at Melton you would see another shocker! The new Deben Industries building is more suited to Ransomes Europark in Ipswich (where it would be in keeping with other buildings in the area). At Melton Station in a rural environment and next to the river Deben it is so 'in your face' who ever passed this at the planning stage will have this on there conscience for as long as it stands. It is truly awful. Regards Mr Kim Tester

Paul Kingham
Old Agilent building, landmark house, ipswich.

Jean McSorley
The new Crown court building in Ipswich is hideous - it looks as if it is covered in tinfoil. Can't believe that it wasn't nominated.

Peter Knight
St Augustine's Church, Ipswich. Though it was built in the 1920's and is therefore only relatively new, it deserves a special commendation, being a rendered brick church, built in the Gothic revival style. As a result, it looks cheap and weathers badly and detracts from a busy corner of the town.

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