The provost of Argyll and Bute has expressed her disappointment at the news that two members of the public have nominated Rothesay for one of the least sought-after titles in Scotland – the annual ‘Plook on the Plinth’ award.
Nominations for the prize opened this week, and Rothesay is one of 25 towns put forward so far by visitors to the website of Urban Realm, the magazine which organises the annual Carbuncle Awards.
One nominee, H. Bremner, says of the town: “It’s hell, old boarded up buildings and paint peeling off everywhere, a town that’s had its day and needs to be flattened and re built. Certainly, no jewel in the Clyde crown. Very depressing place and no one seems to care anymore.”
The second person to suggest Rothesay as a candidate for the award, C. MacLeod, says the town is “a depressing tourist ‘hotspot’ that must have visitors asking why they made the journey. Drab, run down and definately [sic] worth avoiding at all costs. Even on a sunny day it’s dull.”
But Bute councillor and Argyll and Bute provost Isobel Strong said she didn’t feel the town fitted the description of previous ‘Plook’ winners such as Cumbernauld.
“I’m extremely disappointed to hear that Rothesay has been nominated,” Cllr Strong told The Buteman.
“Yes, some parts of Rothesay have deteriorated over the years, but there is lots of work going on to try and improve the town, such as the Townscape Heritage Initiative.
“I think it’s important to be optimistic about the future, because if you don’t have optimism you’ll never get anywhere.
“I think there are far worse places than Rothesay. While it’s true that the town needs investment, it’s still got plenty of character, and I don’t think it fits the description of a ‘Plook on the Plinth’ winner at all.”
The building pictured above, on the corner of High Street and Montague Street in Rothesay town centre, is one of five major projects in line for investment and improvement under the Rothesay THI, in which £2.6 million is being spent on repairs, restoration, education and training between now and March 2016.
A spokesperson for Argyll and BUte Council, which is overseeing the THI work, said: “The building on the corner of Montague Street and High Street will be improved dramatically in the spring when £268,000 of work is done.
“This includes a new roof, led work, pipes and elevations being repaired.
“The three shops on the ground floor have grants in for shop fronts being repaired, a more consistent colour scheme and signage outside.”
The ‘Plook’ nominations, meanwhile, come hard on the heels of the recent publication of an article by retired education professor Walter Humes, who wrote in the Scottish Review that Rothesay was “Bute’s one drawback”, and said it “has a depressing air about it, with a limited range of shops, some boarded up or with closing down signs, crumbling tenements and many domestic properties up for sale”.
The annual Carbuncle Awards habitually attract criticism from civic leaders for their perceived negativity, something the Urban Realm team has always denied; at the launch of nominations for the 2012 awards, the magazine’s editor John Glenday said they acted “as a doorstop for decay and a springboard for future prosperity.”
They also feature a ‘Zit Building Award’, for the worst new building completed in the last year, and the ‘Pock Mark’ award, for the year’s worst planning decision.
The 24 other towns nominated by the public for the ‘Plook on the Plinth’ so far are Ayr, Beith, Blantyre, Broxburn, Cowdenbeath, Culbokie, Cumbernauld, Denny, East Kilbride, Fort William, Girvan, Glenrothes, Greenlaw, Helensburgh, Invergordon, Leslie, Linwood (the current Plook holder), New Cumnock, Newmains, Newmilns, Paisley, Stonehouse, Tullibody and Wishaw. There’s also one nomination for Scotland itself!
The 2012-13 award winners will learn their fate in March.
* What do you think of Rothesay’s nomination - is it unfair? Will it help or hinder efforts to rebuild Bute’s economy? Share your opinions here!