According to new research by Beautiful Britain magazine (beautifulbritain.net) , concrete carriageways, like the Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham came top in a poll of structures and buildings that blight the UK landscape. Coming second in the list of cringe-worthy landmarks was Battersea Power Station on the south bank of the River Thames. The brick-clad, unused coal-fired building, which has seen numerous failed redevelopments, beat M1 Service Stations – like Watford Gap – into third place.
The survey was commissioned by Beautiful Britain to delve deeper into the issues surrounding local planning and measure public sentiment towards these issues. The findings reveal a disgruntled British population with three quarters of the public living within six miles of an eyesore and over one in ten taking drastic action and relocating as a result. Two thirds would also be ruthlessly happy to see UK eyesores like Birmingham New Street station and Rugby’s cement works demolished.
There are a number of significant planning projects underway across the UK, such as the Beauly-Denny pylons in Scotland, whereby the planning decision has not been representative of the local community it is impacting. The study reinforced this as eight in ten people do not feel consulted enough when it comes to building plans in their area and a staggering 68% of Brits wanting to see more red tape. Without significant consultation and planning, more unsightly eyesores could potentially plague Britain’s landscape.
Government pressure to reach targets on renewable energy, transport infrastructure and private housing is creating more problems for the planning process. With high targets set by the Government, such as 200,000 additional homes per year by 2016*, pressure is being put on regulators to cut red tape to ensure that these quotas and deadlines are met.
Rob Yarham, Editor of Beautiful Britain magazine which carried out the research amongst 5,000 Brits, said: “Beautiful Britain magazine aims to keep Britain beautiful by preserving and conserving the best of what we have now and therefore we’d like to highlight the importance of keeping ‘red tape’ rather than cutting it. Cutting red tape will fast-track the planning process and may prevent local voices being heard. We want more thorough consultation to take place with local people and as it turns out the public agree, with a third believing that not enough is being done to protect the country’s land and 68% wanting to see more red tape.”
Britain’s love for its country was also made clear in the survey with seven in ten saying they love the countryside and eight in ten think Britain is beautiful as a whole.
“It is great to see that British people love their surroundings and people want more to be done to protect it, but it isn’t just up to government, national or local, to protect our landscapes and environment. It’s up to all of us to stand up for what we love. If we don’t try to understand how everyone is affected by a planning decision we may find that we have lost something that contributes to the quality of the places in which we live, work or relax.” continued Rob Yarham.
Other findings from the survey:
• Wind farms and electricity pylons also ranked highly in the nationwide study, coming fourth and fifth respectively as the worst eyesores;
• The Millennium Dome in Greenwich, with its large white marquee and twelve 100 metre-high yellow support towers, that failed to attract visitors, was the subject of political controversy and considered a financial flop, was sixth;
• Oxford’s Didcot Power Station was seventh, and the derelict Penarth Heights flats, in the Vale of Glamorgan, were eighth;
• The Angel of the North was voted in ninth place and Rugby Cement Works completed the top ten;
• Other buildings and structures deemed to spoil the UK landscape include Birmingham New Street Station (11), Gateshead Car Park (13), the Scottish Parliament building (15) and Manchester’s Arndale Centre (16);
• Most Brits (82%) claim that wind farms are noisy and destroy the countryside, while only 18% see their benefits saying that they are good for the environment;
• Encouragingly, three in ten would protest but wouldn’t know how to, if a flyover or giant pylon was built next to where they lived. But 17 per cent would sit back and do nothing because they feel powerless in making a positive change and have adopted a ‘It’ll happen anyway’ attitude;
• Run-down industrial estates, disused factories and concrete emerged as the worst type of eyesore, with three quarters preferring old style buildings.
An e-petition has been registered at petitions.number10.gov.uk/BeautifulBritain with the following call on government: “We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to defend and enhance local democracy in the planning process and to resist the imposition through fast-track and other means of large scale and inappropriate development in the countryside”. Therefore, Beautiful Britain is urging the public to go online and take the first step in making a positive change for Britain.
For further information and regional survey results, please contact:
Caryn Lobley or Selena Chan
E: caryn.lobley[.]komodopr.com / selena.chan[.]komodopr.com.
T: 0207 680 5520
*Source – parliament.co.uk/.
BRITAIN’S BIGGEST EYESORES BRIT’S FAVOURITE LANDMARKS
BRITAIN’S BIGGEST EYESORES
2. Battersea Power Station, London
3. M1 service stations
4. Wind farms
5. Electricity pylons
6. Millennium Dome, London
7. Oxfordshire's Didcot Power Station
8. Derelict Penarth Heights flats, Vale of Glamorgan
9. Angel of the North, Gateshead
10. Rugby Cement Works
11. Birmingham New Street station
12. Milton Keynes Concrete Cows
13. Gateshead Car Park
14. The Park Hill Estate in Sheffield
15. Scottish Parliament building
16. Manchester's Arndale Centre
17. Northampton Bus Station
18. Birmingham Central Library
19. Edinburgh's St James Shopping Centre
20. Bournemouth Imax Cinema.
BRIT’S FAVOURITE LANDMARKS
1. Big Ben
3. White Cliffs of Dover
4. Edinburgh Castle
5. London Eye
6. St Paul’s Cathedral
7. Buckingham Palace
8. Tower Bridge
9. Houses of Parliament
10. Roman Baths in Bath.
Submitted by NeonDrum on behalf of Beautiful Britain
Nicky Denovan / T: +44 7747 017654 / E: nicky[.]neondrum.com.