COMMUNITY leaders today hit back after Aberdeen was given the inglorious honour of “most dismal town” in Scotland.
The annual Carbuncle Awards were today announced with the city coming under fire for its “flimsy” buildings.
The awards by Scottish magazine, Urban Realm, look at the country’s cities and buildings from a planning perspective.
In the most dismal town category, called the “Plook on the Plinth Award”, the North-east was up against the likes of Cumbernauld, Greenock and East Kilbride.
It took the top gong, with the magazine noting that the closure of shops on Union Street had “sucked the life” out of the surrounding areas.
But Gold medal prize for ugliest town was today branded an “attack” and city leaders criticised the decision.
Convener of Aberdeen City Council’s planning committee Ramsay Milne said he was disappointed by the process to determine the destination of the top award.
Cllr Milne said he did not know how the winners were chosen, adding: “I think it’s absolute nonsense how some obscure periodical has come to this decision with no discussion with the city council.”
Cllr Milne said little credence should be given to the awards and believed it would have no long-term impact on the city’s reputation, adding: “People should stop talking down this great city and talk it up.
“This is disheartening but people will have common sense with their own experience of it being a good place to live.”
Steve Harris, chief executive of VisitAberdeen, said today he was pleased with the award, adding: “Anything that draws attention to Aberdeen can only help people realise how preposterous and ignorant its award is.
“Aberdeen is a stunning city with beautiful parks and gardens, a beach that runs for miles right into the city centre and some stunning architecture.
“Marischal College is the second largest granite building in the world and stands comparison with buildings in any city.
“With development proceeding apace in many parts of the city and a new City Centre Regeneration Plan due this summer, the future looks bright.”
SNP MSP Kevin Stewart labelled the attack “unwarranted” but added: “The public criticism of the state of the city centre must be a wake-up call to the Labour-led administration that their inept management of the city cannot continue.
“This Carbuncle award is very unfair, but if it achieves anything it must be to see the ludicrous Marischal Square scheme brought to a halt before the administration inflicts another disaster upon Aberdeen.” Cllr Jim Kiddie said it was a “great pity”, adding: “If organisations are giving out these kind of awards it’s a wake-up call to the administration.”
A vote was held by readers with the winners chosen by a panel of judges.
The magazine said Aberdeen was shortlisted after a “litany of embarrassing missteps from Union Terrace Gardens to the failed bid for 2017 City of Culture”.