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RTPI Scotland: no place should be labelled a 'carbuncle' says Pam Ewen

05 February 2015

RTPI Scotland Convenor Pam Ewen has written to The Herald, The Scotsman, The Press and Journal and The Courier regarding the Annual Carbuncle awards. She was also spoke on the radio programme Morning Call. It starts at 1.32.  

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Dear Sir/ Madam

I read with interest your article today on the announcement of the annual Scottish Carbuncle Awards, with the recipient this year being Aberdeen.

Although I appreciate that these awards are meant to help stimulate debate and discussion on the quality of places across Scotland, the focus on the negatives does not help. No place should be labelled as a Carbuncle but rather we should be looking to build on good practice and celebrate our new iconic buildings.  Indeed, last year the Royal Town Planning Institute did this very thing through our Scotland’s Best Places initiative which asked the public to put forward ideas on those places they cherished and which had been created, enhanced or protected by planners over the last 100 years. This generated interest from across Scotland with a wide range of places being put forward from Shetland to Dumfries. People were proud of regeneration projects such the Dundee Waterfront, the Gorbals, Lerwick Waterfront, Glasgow’s Merchant City and Raploch; the conservation of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile; our new towns such as East Kilbride; the reinvention of the Forth and Clyde Canal; and rural places including the West Highland Way and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

People were proud of regeneration projects such the Dundee Waterfront, the Gorbals, Lerwick Waterfront, Glasgow’s Merchant City and Raploch; the conservation of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile; our new towns such as East Kilbride; the reinvention of the Forth and Clyde Canal; and rural places including the West Highland Way and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

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As the ‘place profession’ planners constantly strive to reach these high standards but often face challenges in convincing politicians, investors, developers and communities of the need to invest in quality and to take a long term view. Given this, if we want to ensure that all of our cities, towns and villages are inspiring places we need to invest in places, planning and quality.

Yours faithfully

Pam Ewen

Convenor, Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland