TWO major developments in the conurbation have been nominated for the Carbuncle Cup - an inauspicious award for the country's "ugliest building."

The annual competition, launched in 2006 by architecture magazine Building Design, sets out to find "high-profile monstrosities, value-engineered shockers, buildings so ugly they freeze the heart."

A shortlist of seven was drawn up from readers' nominations - and surprisingly includes two from this corner of Dorset - the Aqua Development overlooking Holes Bay in Poole, and B-Central in Bournemouth, on the former C&A site on the corner of Commercial and Tregonwell roads.

The former was referred to in Friday's edition of Building Design as a "Ceausescu's architectural nightmare."

Bournemouth's offering was branded by a reader who nominated it as "surely one of the most staggeringly crass housing schemes we've seen all year?"

But Bournemouth and Poole councils have stepped in to defend their planning decisions.

Peter Watson, head of planning design and control, Borough of Poole, said: "The thing about architecture is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people will love the design and others won't.

"The Aqua Development has transformed what was a derelict industrial site. It sits on the water's edge like an ocean liner and complements the harbour location.

"This building forms only part of a much larger development site and until complete, Aqua can't yet be seen in its full context."

Mike Holmes, director for planning and transport services at Bournemouth council said: "As with all planning applications this one was taken on merit and on this particularly application was considered by an architects panel.

"The development replaces the former C&A building which was deemed very unattractive.

"Locally the development has been well received and is part of a wider scheme which will eventually provide vital affordable housing in Bournemouth town centre."

These developments, which were completed in the past year, are now up against such fellow nominees as a building dubbed "the Dalek" in Leeds, and a 1970s style multi-storey car park in Aylesbury.

The Carbuncle Cup is now down to the public vote. Visit to see the other entries.