Carbuncle nomination for Girvan

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GIRVAN could soon achieve notoriety with an unexpected awards win - but not the type that most residents would welcome.

The Carrick town has been put forward in the Carbuncle Awards 2012 Plook in the Plinth category, marking its second time on the shortlist since the accolades began seven years ago.

Established in 2005 by built environment magazine Urban Realm, the Carbuncle Awards recognise the most dismal places in Scotland.

Girvan was shortlisted on only the second day that nominations were open, and appears alongside Ayr town centre as the only South Ayrshire entries thus far.

Girvan’s nomination came from an anonymous source who claims to have its best interests at heart.

And he or she describes the Carrick town as a ghost town of charity shops, dog-mess littered pavements, and crumbling infrastructure.

“It breaks my heart to see it going to rack and ruin,” the mystery nominator says.

Urban Realm editor John Glenday says that far from being discouraging, the awards intend to catalyse redevelopment.

“Our towns are under greater pressure than ever before, suffering continued dissipation of resources and fragmentation of once close knit communities - from flagging retail to an exodus of the young and a planning and legal system that often seems perversely designed to throttle rather than nurture,” he said.

“The Carbuncle Awards are an antidote to this insidious decline which has hit our towns since the onset of recession in 2008, acting as a doorstop for decay and a springboard for future prosperity.”

But business-owners on Girvan’s Dalrymple Street did not find the Awards’ good intentions particularly reassuring.

Jackie Dunlop of Dunlop’s newsagents admitted: “You do see a decline in Girvan; let’s face it, what is there for anyone to come to Girvan for? But it’s a shame because it’s a nice wee town.

“I can’t believe it,” she said. “No-one wants to be the Carbuncle of Carrick.”

Gillian Black, who has recently expanded her Shimmer home and clothing shop into a second Girvan premises in Chalmers Arcade, said: “There is some beautiful architecture in the town and I definitely don’t think the nomination is deserved.

“Hopefully through promotion it might bring some positive publicity with it and put Girvan on the map, but I really hope we don’t win.”

Girvan councillor and proprietor of The Sweetie Shop, Alec Clark, said he disappointed by the nomination.

“Anyone who spends time here would surely see that we absolutely do not deserve to be nominated for a Carbuncle Award,” he said. “Girvan is a pretty and forward looking town that sits in one of the most beautiful parts of the South Ayrshire coast and has a vibrant and hard-working community at its core.

“If the people behind this were to meet the people in the community and walk around the place they would change their mind pretty quickly.”

John McDowall, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment and himself a Girvan councillor, slammed Girvan’s nomination as an injustice and a disservice to the town and its people.

He cited the £8m new multi-faceted facility, a £400,000 investment in upgrades to the harbour, and a £50,000 sum made available to start a shop front improvement scheme as just some of the developments shaping Girvan’s “major transformation”.

Carbuncle Awards nominations are open until the end of 2012, and the winners will be announced in March next year.