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The United Kingdom: a nation of eyesores?

In our age of urbanisation, we are caught between something of a rock and a hard place. While developments in technology and modernisation have made the very best services available at a moment’s notice, the number of eyesores as a result has risen monumentally.

Construction sites, road works and much more fill our cities and towns and while these developments are clearly brilliant in the long-run, they can often leave the residents of the area less than happy with the eyesores they create.

A survey conducted by Lenstore has revealed what the nation truly thinks about these eyesores, from the huge to the small. It is nothing short of compelling to see how the different areas have responded, along with the similarities faced by both those in rural areas and those in urban.

Rural wreck

Many who live in the inner-cities may dream of a rural getaway, but as revealed by the survey, the country has its fair share of problems. In fact, passions are running high about eyesores by those who live in the green and beautiful countryside’s of the UK.

The number one blot on the landscape, most likely to spoil the view in a rural area was voted as “fly tipping”, with 35% of the results. “Electricity pylons” and “new housing developments” came in a close second and third with 16% and 15% of the results respectively, while the infamous “energy generating windmills” came in fourth.

Some surprising results also came up in the polls, with numerous eyesores you might not expect to trouble rural residents. “Road works” (7%), “ariels/transmitters for mobile phones” (4%) and “telephone wires” (3%) plague the people living in the British countryside, showing the negative side effects of a modern world.

Of course, some of the issues that arose were what you may expect from a rural environment: “dead trees” (2%) and “poorly kept out buildings/farm buildings” (6%) made an appearance on the list.

Urban horrors

It will probably come to no surprise to those living in the major cities that “derelict buildings” came out top of the poll with 22% of the vote when asked what was most likely to spoil the view in an urban area.

A tie result came in second place, with “graffiti”, “litter” and “dirty/wrecked/abandoned cars” each receiving 16%. Further down the list was also “tatty posters” (4%), showing that perhaps the greatest problems in our urban areas comes not from the city itself, but the residents within the city limits.

Of course, not all of the problems came down to unthoughtful acts. “Wheelie bins” (7%), “bus stops/telephone boxes in need of repair” (4%), “industrial buildings” (3%) and “out-dated buildings/out-dated architecture” (3%) made up some more of the results.

Some particularly interesting points come from these latter results, especially as so many cities in the UK are investing in building developments. Perhaps they are not transforming quite quickly enough!

Britons in a slump

It’s easy enough to dismiss these eyesores should we live in a blessedly clean area, but for many this just isn’t possible. Along with the top eyesores in different areas, the survey asked respondents to reveal how they felt about the objects that ruin their views.

A staggering 51% of those polled said that the eyesores in their local area depressed them, resulting in 25% actually changing their route to avoid these areas. Unsurprisingly, 38% said that they were in need of a holiday, if only to get away from the sight for a while.

How residents choose to deal with these problems varied greatly. Campaigns and protests to have the eyesore removed was the action of choice for 37%, though 14% felt driven to further extremes: they’d like to vandalise these sites.

Day-to-day disappointments

As if the problems weren’t enough on their own, it turns out that these eyesores have affected what Britons are doing with their free time. Dates have been relocated by 22% to avoid awkward conversation and picnics have been avoided by 31% solely due to the eyesore.

These sights are seemingly also affecting communities on a whole. A huge 48% said that they felt the eyesores influenced visitor’s opinions of the area; 38% said that they had had an impact on the community spirit of the area, and a saddening 34% said that they had caused the local house prices to drop.

Making the unbearable beautiful

With such overwhelming results, is it possible to improve these areas and make them more aesthetically pleasing? We might not be able to completely remove the problems, but can we make them seem bearable, maybe even beautiful?

Urban photography is on the rise and with it the search for something beautiful within something otherwise ugly. At Lenstore, we understand the importance of sight, so we are searching for a way to make these eyesores something you can stand to look at.

Whether this can be done or not is yet to be seen. What we do know from these results, however, is that every area in the country is of need of an injection of beauty.