A SHOPPING centre once voted the ugliest building in the UK is up for sale for more than £3.5 million.
Cumbernauld shopping centre was Britain’s first shopping mall when it was built in the 1960s as the centre of the new town in Lanarkshire.
However, it has suffered years of decline and has been described by locals as a “war zone” and “a national embarrassment”.
Known as “Cumbernauld town centre”, the shopping precinct has gone on the market after the previous owners, CNC Investments, went into administration.
Administrators BDO want firms to invest in redeveloping the 270,000sq ft mall and are looking for offers over £3.5m.
They say buyers will inherit a rental income of more than £1.2m per year from businesses with outlets there including Lloyds TSB, Ladbrokes and Greggs.
Selling agents Eric Young & Co describe the centre as a “classic example of modernist, mega structure architecture” and boast of the town’s famous links to the hit film Gregory’s Girl which was shot there.
Sarah Rayment, BDO’s business restructuring partner, said: “Unfortunately the economic climate and difficult trading conditions have significantly affected the business.
“However, we are hopeful of securing a sale of Cumbernauld Shopping Centre.
“The Cumbernauld Shopping Centre and its retail units will continue to trade whilst all the options are explored.”
Cumbernauld MSP Jamie Hepburn called on council chiefs in North Lanarkshire to put a bid in for the centre.
He said: “The price that the administrators are seeking for Cumbernauld Town Centre suggests that a public bid, coordinated by North Lanarkshire Council, in conjunction with their arms-length Campsies Board who have been tasked with reinvigorating the town centre is eminently realistic.
“Such an approach would allow for a more joined up regeneration of the town centre, which is what everyone in the area is crying out for.”
In a 2005 poll of 10,000 nominations to find Britain’s worst eyesore, the centre beat Gateshead car park, the cement works in Rugby and the new £431m Scottish Parliament building.
The poll was conducted by Channel 4 ahead of its programme Demolition, which producers hoped would create enough public pressure to see the shopping centre razed to the ground.
It also helped the town win the Carbuncle award for the most dismal place in Scotland on two occasions.
The centre was designed by the late Geoffery Copcutt in the early 1960s and won plaudits for its futuristic raised walkways which placed shoppers away from traffic.
However, by 2001 it had won the Carbuncle Award for the most dismal place in Scotland and was described by the judges as “a rabbit warren on stilts”, and “soulless and inaccessible, something like eastern Europe before the Berlin Wall came down”.
The mall is now sandwiched between two more modern retail outlets, the new Cumbernauld shopping centre and the Antonine centre.
The mall complex was originally hailed as the world’s first multi-level, multi-function, covered town centre within a single structure.
The penthouse apartments were found to have significant structural flaws in the main pillars and tenants were forced to move out. They were then converted into office space.
By 1971 the town centre had the largest supermarket in Scotland.