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Architects blamed for 'crap towns'

Architects have been blamed by the public for Britain’s most hideous town centres

The latest Crap Towns poll, voted on by more than 3,000 people, found that Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire was the country’s ugliest place to live.

This was closely followed by Luton in Bedfordshire, then Slough and Bracknell in Berkshire.

Results of the poll into the UK’s ugliest towns

  1. Hemel Hempstead
  2. Luton
  3. Slough
  4. Bracknell
  5. Birmingham
  6. Camberley
  7. Coventry
  8. Cumbernauld
  9. Hatfield
  10. Gateshead

Architects were nominated by a clear majority of voters as the chief reason their town was ugly. Designers are more to blame for so-called crap towns than the Conservative government, New Labour or even drugs, according to the survey.

The website behind the poll, which is widely reported in the national press, said: ‘Naughty architects… who knew there was a group of people less popular than the Tories? And all they want to do is build things and make stuff look nice.’

The RIBA declined to comment on the survey’s findings.

Readers' comments (6)

  • A brief skim through Gavin Stamp's 'Britain's Lost Cities'
    reveals that architects have a great capacity to not only create ugly new towns but wilfully destroy old ones.

    However it isn't just architects petrol head highways engineers have played a key part in ensuring 'vital' road infrastructure has carved up most of the country, towns included.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • The result of this survey is only because the public don't know what a planner is or what they do. Local authorities, planning departments and an obsession with developer led regeneration are the reasons our towns are so crap. Architects are just the weak willed monkeys in the process. We don't really hold any power or much influence

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  • No surprises there then.

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  • The voting website only gave these ten towns as options, so it's no surprise that these ten made the list!

    Luton was carved up by fly-overs and an Arndale shopping centre in the 70s, neither of which was the will of any architect.

    The blame rests with developers and incompetent planning departments.

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  • The design of everything that has been built since 1947 has had to be approved by the planning system - usually the locally elected Council members - aided and supported by the planning system operated by planners. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA

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  • The key determinant in any major planning decision is the creation of wealth. Design quality is a side issue.

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