Stockport’s brand new £45 million leisure development has been branded a ‘soulless leisure shed’ and a “sad metaphor for our failing high streets”.
The damning reviews came as it was voted Britain’s worst new building.
It is part of a wider £1bn regeneration project for the ailing community south of Manchester, but the judges said the shed-like building “ridiculed” the town centre it had been intended to rescue.
They described it as a “missed opportunity” and a “sad metaphor for our failing high streets”, with one adding: “You feel sorry for the people of Stockport.”
The original nominator dubbed it “one of the most horrendous architectural responses ever conceived for Greater Manchester”.
“Urban regeneration can be a good thing,” said the judges. “But when it becomes an excuse to foist bad architecture on to struggling communities in the cynical pursuit of an ‘anything is better than what was there before’ methodology, it simply recycles the resentment regeneration was supposed to redress.
“The fact that there are multiple examples of this kind of garish, soul-less leisure shed architecture in UK towns doesn’t let Redrock off the hook: it puts more of those responsible for our built environment in the dock.”
The centre has proved popular with locals, but the judges said Stockport’s urgent need for revitalisation was not a licence to create depressing architecture.