The ugliest building in Suffolk?

Retailers have shunned it, no shoppers have ever crossed its door and now it has been officially voted the ugliest building in Suffolk.

Retailers have shunned it, no shoppers have ever crossed its door and now it has been officially voted the ugliest building in Suffolk.

Belvedere Road Retail Park has stood empty since supermarket giant Asda built it a year ago. It was designed as part of a £30m development aimed at breathing new life into a rundown part of Lowestoft.

Instead, it has become the town's greatest eyesore after more than 750 people voted in an online poll organised by civic watchdog the Suffolk Preservation Society for it to be crowned the ugliest building in Suffolk.

The competition, called Worst of the East, was organised by the society to highlight architectural faux pas and misdemeanours around the county.

And after a fortnight of voting, the Belvedere Road construction topped the shortlist of five buildings, scooping 36pc of the votes.

Richard Ward, director of Suffolk Preservation Society, said: "This is a clear wake-up call to architects, planners and the owners of such buildings. Local people really do care what their environment looks like and are not going to be easily impressed by some of the below par inflicted upon them in recent years."

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But last night a spokesman for Waveney District Council, which granted the building planning permission, said the council was surprised by the news because the society had raised no complaints about its design at the planning stage.

Council spokesman Phil Harris said: "We appreciate the good intentions behind this light-hearted competition but we can only wonder why no objections were received from Suffolk Preservation Society when this development was at the planning stage.

"They were given every opportunity to comment on the proposed development but chose not to. Although we always welcome constructive criticism, it might have been more helpful if the society had contributed to the original proposals."

Defending the society's position, chairman Mike Coleman said: "Basically it is a very ugly building. It looked alright at the planning stage, but it is not very attractive at all."

Commenting on the competition, Asda spokeswoman Deborah Yewdall said she did not believe the building's looks were behind its lack of success.

She said: "We had an obligation to make it a factory outlet centre, but there has been no interest for that market so we are in discussions with the local authority and looking to come up with an alternative plan."

Other buildings in the poll included Cineworld, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich Borough Council Offices, KFC, Newton Road, Sudbury, and the Thoroughfare building in Woodbridge.