The Antonine Centre is a Shopping Centre in the Scottish New Town of Cumbernauld. The centre has 350,000 sq ft (33,000 m2) of retail space including a 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2) Tesco Extra (in a separate building to the main centre, attached by walkways) and a 43,000 sq ft (4,000 m2) Dunnes. The centre was expected to open sometime in May 2007, but instead opened on 6 June 2007, following delays caused by planning disputed over the pedestrian walkways connecting the complex to existing buildings.
Cumbernauld Town Centre, developed in the 1950s, has been considered one of the ugliest in Britain, twice winning Prospect magazine's Carbuncle Award for the most unpleasant town centre in the country; in 2001 it was described as "The Kabul of the north" while the entire town centre was nominated as Britain's ugliest structure in the Channel 4 programme Demolition. Writers including author Caro Ramsay have referenced the "Alien's Head", a moniker given by locals to the "unsightly" top section of the building due to its side profile superficially resembling that of fictional alien E.T. Despite these criticisms, much of the surrounding area contains sought after residential property and is located for ease of access to the major conurbations.
The £40 million Antonine Centre project was launched in 1995 as part of a plan to change the nature of the town centre and public perception of the town. However, some have remarked that the new centre seems to have been designed to complement the architecture and look of the existing structures, which are so disliked by the majority of local residents.
After over ten years of delays, construction began in April 2006. North Lanarkshire council Deputy Leader Jim Smith stated that the aims of the centre were to "Bring new jobs, new opportunities, new investment and new life into Cumbernauld (and) help make sure local money stays local by encouraging people to stay in the town instead of heading for Edinburgh, Stirling or Glasgow".
The former Tesco (connected to the new development by a network of walkways) was also subdivided into smaller retail units.
Shops and projected effects on the local area
As well as the Tesco Extra and Dunnes superstores, the centre has 42 other retail outlets including River Island and Next. It is projected that the centre will increase expenditure in the town by 84%, while total retail spending in the town is projected to rise by 166%, transforming the local economy.
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- "Time Drags On for Centre". Cumbernauld Today. 2 May 2007.
- Paisley, Jonathan (4 April 2007). "Walkway Hitch May Delay £40 million Shopping Complex". Evening Times.
- ,Duffy, Judith (23 October 2005). "Fear and Loathing in a Town Called Carbuncle". Sunday Herald.
- Scott, Hamish (31 August 2002). "Cumbernauld: Radiant City or Carbuncle?". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Caro Ramsay (6 December 2013). "What's it called? Cumbernauld!". Murder is Everywhere. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
...the centre's penthouses located within the 'alien's head' lie empty and derelict.
- "What's it called? Carbuncle-nauld". Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser. Scottish and Universal Newspapers. 21 November 2001.
[T]he centre is topped by a rather unsightly block...Cumbernauld residents dubbed [it] the 'Alien's Head', in homage to ET.
- Brown, Craig; Smith, Claire (8 March 2007). "Don't You Dare to Knock Our Town - We Do That Ourselves". The Scotsman.
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- "A Summer of Celebrations in Cumbernauld". North Lanarkshire Counci;. 23 April 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2007.
- Antonine Cumbernauld, developers of the Centre