Glenrothes in Fife has been shortlisted for the annual Carbuncle Awards, “the prize that identifies Scotland’s most dismal town.”
The judges’ statement says:
Glenrothes is a classic Scottish New Town. However, the judges felt that unlike New Towns such as East Kilbride and even Cumbernauld, it has failed to move with the times. It is dominated by the vast Kingdom Centre which also serves as the town centre. From the outside it is an ugly and depressing complex which inspires little civic pride. Inside it feels like an 80s timewarp. Said Gordon Young, “The real failing with this town centre is the lack of civic space. The whole thing is internalised. It is really just a big mall. But with a little investment it could be so much more. “However, the shops are busy. But the judges felt this was more down to a lack of competition in the region which explains a sense that the Kingdom complex perhaps does not need to try too hard in terms of attracting local trade. “One almost gets the feeling that perhaps Historic Scotland should give this place a listing, as an example of how poor shopping centres used to be.”
That’s pretty accurate. Basically Glenrothes is a series of suburbs, most of which have a small shopping precinct. The only town centre is really the Kingdom Centre shopping mall, which is a large indoor shopping centre, mostly surrounded by car parks.
On the other hand, Glenrothes has a lot of public sculptures, a reasonable amount of green space, and seems well catered for by cycle paths and footpaths, although the transport system is dominated by roundabouts.
There is also the Pock Mark Award for worst planning decision and the Zit Building Award for the most disappointing building.