Beautiful Cumbernauld

The much maligned North Lanarkshire town of Cumbernauld is now proud recipient of a Beautiful Scotland trophy following their recent win in the campaign’s Small City category. At the 2013 Beautiful Scotland Award Ceremony, held on Friday 6th September at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom, Cumbernauld was announced as the winner of their category, bringing Beautiful Scotland silverware to the town for the first time ever.

The Beautiful Scotland judges visited Cumbernauld on Wednesday 7th August and were welcomed to the town with a 15 minute presentation summarising some key achievements of the town over the previous year. The presentation was delivered in the recently refurbished Business and Conference Centre of Cumbernauld College before the judges embarked on a two hour tour of the town.

Included in the Beautiful Scotland judging visit was Greenfaulds Orchard, an area currently in the process of being transferred into a community orchard; Ravenswood Local Nature Reserve, a 17 hectare Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC); Hope Community Garden, a volunteer project operating at Muirfield Community Centre; Cumbernauld House Park, the largest town park in North Lanarkshire; Cumbernauld Glen, a Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) Reserve where the judges found out about the Cumbernauld Living Landscape Project; and Cumbernauld High School, with their impressive Eco-Garden.

The Beautiful Scotland award was presented by Councillor George Adam, Lord Provost of Aberdeen, to Adam Smith, Vice-Chair of Cumbernauld Environmental Society, who collected the award on behalf of Cumbernauld along with Barry McComish, Secretary Pro-Tem of Cumbernauld Environmental Society. In recent years Cumbernauld Environmental Society has taken the lead in organising Cumbernauld’s entry to Beautiful Scotland, with the town picking up Silver Awards in consecutive years since 2009.

The Carbuncle Award, typically awarded to the town deemed to be Scotland’s worst, was last presented to Cumbernauld in 2005 with the ageing Cumbernauld Town Centre heavily criticised. Since 2005 a new Town Centre extension, the Antonine Shopping Centre, has opened, attracting high street names to Cumbernauld including Next and River Island; and the original Town Centre, recently in administration, is now under new ownership, with local people hoping the new owners will refurbish and regenerate the Town Centre.

Adam said “Cumbernauld’s Carbuncle Award unfairly branded the whole town as the worst in Scotland when Cumbernauld is really a great place to live and has so much to offer. Last year Cumbernauld won a Civic Pride Award at the Scottish Design Awards and Sony Pictures Television has recently chosen Cumbernauld to host their new, multi-million pound Television Studio and Production Base to support the filming of Outlander, a major television production expected to rival Game of Thrones. These are just two of Cumbernauld’s many positive achievements which, in conjunction with this Beautiful Scotland award, will hopefully go some way to reversing the negative image which many people have of Cumbernauld”.

Adam continued “The award of this Beautiful Scotland trophy is a fantastic achievement for the town and recognises the numerous hard-working community groups and dedicated individuals who help make Cumbernauld a great place to live, work, and visit”.

Adam Smith and Barry McComish collect the Beautiful Scotland Small City Trophy, on behalf of Cumbernauld, from the Lord Provost of Aberdeen
Adam Smith and Barry McComish collect the Beautiful Scotland Small City Trophy, on behalf of Cumbernauld, from the Lord Provost of Aberdeen

At the 2013 Beautiful Scotland Award Ceremony it was also revealed that two local groups, Condorrat Tenants and Residents Association and Cumbernauld Village Action for the Community, had been successful in the Urban Community category and had both received Silver Awards.

Bobby Johnstone, Chair of Cumbernauld Environmental Society, said “I thank everyone who took part in Beautiful Scotland, in any category, as this recognition of their hard work and effort serves to improve the reputation of Cumbernauld. I would particularly like to thank Adam Smith for his great work in compiling the portfolio and for planning and organising the judging visit. I’m fortunate to have such a young and enthusiastic committee who are dedicated to improving the landscape, environment, and reputation of Cumbernauld”.

Cumbernauld Environmental Society plan to celebrate the achievement by holding their own “Beautiful Cumbernauld” event where they will present copies of the award certificate to all those who played a part in the award win. They also hope to set up a display in Cumbernauld Town Centre to show off the trophy to local residents and visitors. The group will be working with community groups and individuals throughout the town to ensure next year’s Beautiful Scotland entry is as strong as it can possibly be and hope that Cumbernauld can continue to receive Beautiful Scotland trophies, and other awards, for many years to come.

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