IT was the prize which no-one wanted, given to the biggest blot on the Scottish urban landscape each year.

But now the organisers of the Carbuncle awards say the contest to find the ugliest building and most dismal town has been scrapped.

The awards have named and shamed the country's worst architecture for almost two decades, with towns such as Cumbernauld, Airdrie, Coatbridge, Glenrothes and Linwood all sharing the dubious honour of winning the Plook on the Plinth prize.

The contest was created to allow frustrated citizens to vent their fury at local eyesores and ill-judged planning decisions.

However, organisers Urban Realm magazine now feel it is no longer appropriate to single out struggling communities at a time of continuing austerity and economic uncertainty.

They plan to launch a more compassionate contest where towns are offered assistance rather than being publicly shamed.

John Glenday, the editor of Urban Realm, the architecture journal which organised the awards, said: "We feel the time is right to relaunch and rebrand. The idea is to re-energise things and make it more relevant.

"We want to make it more positive, more of a tool to kick start regeneration."

Mr Glenday insisted that the Carbuncles had been a force for good because they put pressure on councils to take action to improve their towns.
He added: "In New Cumnock, for example, there have been some remarkable changes since it was named Scotland's most dismal town in 2013.

"The town hall which was derelict has been renovated and the lido, one of the last in Scotland, was reopened by Prince Charles just the other month.

"Most people had never heard of it, or its plight, until the Carbuncles brought it to national attention."

Elaine Smith, a Labour MSP for Central Scotland, has campaigned against the awards and welcomed the news of their demise.

She said: "It's long past time that the organisers recognised how damaging they actually have been, in particular for towns who are striving to move on from the ravages of their industrial heritage.

Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire has the dubious distinction of winning the Plook on the Plinth title for having Scotland's "most dismal" town centre in 2001 and 2005.

Judges compared it to Kabul and described its shopping centre as a rabbit warren on stilts.

Neil Baxter, the secretary of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, had led calls from the profession for the awards to be scrapped.

He said they were "cynical, crass, commercial, stupid, unhelpful, petty nonsense that should be ignored by everyone."

Councillor Paul Kelly, depute leader of North Lanarkshire Council - the home of double-winner Cumbernauld -  said the cancellation of the award was "long overdue".

He added: “The Carbuncle Awards have been entirely unconstructive and have unfairly stigmatised the communities of North Lanarkshire. 

"They also disregarded the immense regeneration activity in many of our towns.

"We welcome constructive ideas for improvement and work hard with people in all our communities and elsewhere to invest in our town centres, improve standards and encourage inward investment.”