AN extension to a Poole church has been nominated for the 'Carbuncle Cup' - an annual 'award' for the ugliest architecture in the land.

The Spire community hub, built to the rear of Poole Methodist Church on Poole High Street, replaced a Georgian chapel and later extension to the rear of the main church.

According to the anonymous person who put it forward for the design booby prize the new building resembles "a set of site huts."

They add: "This project is a graphic illustration of how schemes granted planning can morph into something quite different on completion."

The final building looks quite different to the original design which was given the green light in late 2010 and featured a set-back entrance under an elevated glass box.

Bournemouth Echo:

Above: the design given permission in 2010

Changes came about through a number of amendments to the planning permission submitted by a practice called Intelligent Design Centre.

The nominator adds: "The completed building looks more like a set of construction site huts rather than a positive addition to the character of the conservation area. It sends a poor message that a scheme can be significantly weakened in quality from its original aims by continual design erosion and amendment."

The Carbuncle Cup is an architecture booby prize given annually by the magazine Building Design. Comments on the nomination on the BD website so far include: "It is an astonishingly bad building on so many levels," and "I think to work at this intimate scale and still manage to create something so offensively awful takes great skill... A carbuncle champion of champions for my money."

A spokesman for Poole Methodists said: "We believe the focus should be on what happens inside the building.

"Since its re-opening and re-naming eighteen months ago, The Spire community hub is being used by more than 15 community organisations and Wesley's community cafe has become one of Poole's busiest and affordable places to snack and meet with friends.

"In that time, over 75,000 visits have been made to The Spire by local people. Currently only the ground floor of both old and new buildings is in use and we are excited by the further possibilities for community groups that opening the upper floors will allow - something for which we are still raising funds."

Bournemouth Echo:

Above: this design was refused planning permission

Richard Genge, Planning and Regeneration Manager, Borough of Poole, said: “Members of Planning Committee refused an initial planning application for the Spire Café due to concerns relating to the height of the building.

"No concerns were raised about the design of the building and the original officer report commented on the fact that the building had been specifically designed to be less dominant than the church.

Read the case officer's report here

"A revised scheme, which reduced the height of the building and ensured the long distant view on the feature window in the church was retained was later approved at Committee.

“Since planning permission was received in 2010 the applicant has changed the scheme a number of times. However, this has been done in consultation with Ward Members and approved by Officers under delegated powers. Whilst the new building is of a similar design to the refused building it was not the design that was of concern to the council.

“This scheme has brought about a range of community benefits, as well as ensuring quality improvements to the church building fronting the High Street.”

Last year's Carbuncle Cup winner was the 'Walkie Talkie' a skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street in London, also known as the Walkie Scorchie after its curved facade was found to focus enough solar energy to damage cars.

Also nominated this year is the Fusion Building at Bournemouth University, which is described by its nominator as “an insecure and pitiful mishmash” that has been generated by “a distinct lack of confidence in the architect’s design ability”.