CUMBERNAULD. A brave new town of the 1950s which would welcome the relocated people of a Glasgow being torn down. A halcyon town where roads were roads and streets were streets, and the populace could roam freely amidst safe thoroughfares and underpasses not yet dominated by skateboarders.

Since then, the largest conurbation in North Lanarkshire has had a bad press.

Cumbernauld is the only Scottish town to be labelled “Scotland’s most dismal” twice in the erstwhile Carbuncle Awards.

Thankfully, after 17 years, those awards were canned in 2017 to make way for a new set of “positive” accolades. Organised by architecture magazine Urban Realm, the Carbuncle Awards labelled post-industrial Scottish towns with titles of shame such as the “Plook on the Plinth” award – while criticising local authorities in the process.

Fast forward to 2022, and North Lanarkshire Council has announced it wants to demolish the town centre and replace it with a new hub for services, education, shopping and leisure.

So far, so good. Maybe.

READ MORE: Cumbernauld: A satellite town with its own gravitational pull

However, an unnamed supporter of the existing building who lives locally has appealed to Historic Environment Scotland to protect it by granting listed status as a building of special interest, which means it could not be redeveloped.

Now Jamie Hepburn MSP and Stuart McDonald MP have written to Historic Scotland in the hope that any such move can be stopped for the good of the town and the continued development of its wider amenities.

The stramash has gained momentum. How could such a manmade town urban-planned to within an inch of its concrete life be a source of such vibrant debate?

BBC’s The One Show, in my book one show best avoided, latched on to the story on Friday night, hooking it to the Gregory’s Girl line.

The film, which was set in the town, is the stuff of legend, but it’s a shame a Scottish story such as this can only gain wider UK BBC traction because of the celeb factor.

I look back to my days as a youngster, when Cumbernauld was my home town.

The town centre was pretty grim then, it has to be said. I never understood why you were put in a position to be tempted, when arriving there by bus and having to change to an ongoing service in the opposite direction, to jump the central reservation of a fast-moving road (bring on the cars, in New Town Cumbernauld!) rather than negotiate the tunnels and overpasses to get to the bus stop at the other side of the road … 10 missed buses later.

Not that I ever did that, of course…

The town centre was described as “the Kabul of the North” in 2001, with particular derision reserved for the town’s shopping centre, described as “a rabbit warren on stilts”.

Now there’s a new shopping mall which sits incongruously with its big brutalist brother on its shoulder.

I can understand the urge to preserve the old architecture, and I’m not a fan of shiny new malls.

But surely town centres have to be fit for purpose for the communities they serve.

Arguably, Cumbernauld never quite achieved this with its brave new ambitions.

Perhaps now’s the time to right the planners’ dreams gone wrong.