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Locals protest at award for Welsh building

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A row has broken out over an award given to a housing scheme by Stride Treglown in Porthcawl, South Wales.

The local civic trust has written to the Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW) about the society's decision to give the Esplanade House scheme a Welsh Housing Design Award.

In the letter, the trust has accused the judges of 'bottling it' when they made their decision.

The judges said in their citation: 'Porthcawl's dilapidated Esplanade Hotel has now been replaced by a new, attention-grabbing mixed development that seems determined, single-handedly if necessary, to bring the fun of the beach resort back to the sea-front.

'Stylistically, Esplanade House owes something to the Festival Style of the 1950s, and much to the Memphis style of the 1980s, mixing humour, charm, intelligence, populism and solid architectural pragmatism.

'This is the kind of building that some will profess to dislike, but which the majority of locals and regular visitors will come to cherish.'

But Porthcawl Civic Trust Society honorary secretary Mike Mansley claims this last statement is nonsense.

'It's a disaster of a building,' he told the AJ. 'And almost everyone hates it.

'The RSAW says that this building will bring back the gaiety of the seafront and that is a nonsense. We thought it was a load of bunkum.

'But what annoyed us most was that the RSAW and the council have both ignored the strict planning rules of the Victorian conservation area in which this scheme is situated.

'And there has been strong public opinion against it,' he added.

by Ed Dorrell

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