Since the Development corporation was disbanded in 1997 things have changed in Cumbernauld but not nearly as much as some would have you believe. The below documentary made by an HND student from the area gives an insight into the problems that are in the area.
Since 1997, the outlook has changed and the New Town has won a number of very unflattering awards including Urban Realm’s “Plook on a Plinth” in both 2001 and 2005. In December 2005 the entire Town Centre won a public nomination for demolition in the Channel 4 series Demolition, where it was voted “the worst building in Britain”. As a result of this, it was featured on the BBC Radio 2 comedy program It’s Been a Bad Week, where it won the show’s fictional “Worst Week of the Week Award, Awarded Weekly, on a Week-By-Week Basis.” In 2003.The intended core of Cumbernauld remains the Town Centre buildings, all of which is essentially contained within one structure, segmented into “phases”, the first of which was completed in 1967, the latest of which began construction in May 2003 for completion around September 2004. Initially the basic groundwork for the new shops began in 1997 and were finally completed in summer 2007. Designed to be a commerce centre, an entertainment and business venue and a luxury accommodation site, it was widely accepted as the UK’s first shopping mall and was the world’s first multi-level covered town centre. However, the town never developed to its planned size, and the town centre has never had the life
envisaged by town planners. Wealthy occupiers for the centre’s penthouses never materialised and some now lie empty and derelict. Further expansion has been primarily to provide further space for shops. A substantial portion of the original Shopping Centre was demolished due to structural damage and has been redeveloped as a new shopping and leisure complex.
As well as the unfulfilled ambitions for the town, the passage of time has exposed serious defects in post-war concepts of centrally-planned retail and civic centres developed in the absence of proper community consultation or sensitivity to local environmental and economic conditions. This has been reflected in a country-wide backlash against modernist architecture in general. Cumbernauld’s Town Centre is widely regarded as one of the ugliest and least-loved examples of post-war design in Scotland. The confusing layout is an abiding source of frustration for both visitors and residents, many of whom are the descendants of skilled workers who aspired to escape the frequently appalling social and housing conditions of the Glasgow conurbation in the 1960s and 70s.
Despite its bad press, from a purely aesthetic standpoint Cumbernauld is regarded as representing a significant moment in town design, and in 1993 it was listed as one of the sixty key monuments of post-war architecture by the international conservation organisation DoCoMoMo.
Cumbernauld was the location for the 1981 film Gregory’s Girl and its sequel, Gregory’s Two Girls. In the film Orphans some of the scenes were shot in Carbrain.
The residential structure of Cumbernauld is noteworthy in that there were no pedestrian crossings, i.e. zebra or pelican crossings, or traffic lights —pedestrians traverse roads by bridge or underpass. This has led to the perception that the town is car-centric, and difficult to navigate by foot. In 2004, a set of traffic lights were erected in the Condorrat Village neighbourhood Main Street, soon followed by traffic / pelican lights which were erected beside the new Tesco Extra.
Cumbernauld in the last few years has seen a surge of business activity with the expansion of Isola-Werke in the Wardpark area, the New OKI UK headquarters in Wardpark and Yaskawa Electronics, A.G. Barr World Headquarters.