A NEW extension to a west Dorset museum has already been nominated for an award - for the worst architectural design of the year.

Lyme Regis Museum unveiled its new £1.5 million Mary Anning Wing extension last month. Writer Geoff Baker has put the project forward for the Carbuncle Cup, awarded by Building Design magazine.

In his nomination letter, Mr Baker labelled the extension to the grade 2 listed building a "grotesque bike shed".

He added: "The Mary Anning Wing, as this vulgar modern eyesore is known, was unveiled to a chorus of scorn from locals who feel that its Darth Vader design does little to fit it in with the look and colour of the original Edwardian building, nor is it in keeping with the historic architecture of the Lyme Regis seafront.

"As you may know, Lyme Regis is just a 40-minute drive from Poundbury, the Dorchester project created by the Prince of Wales, the father of the carbuncle protest. We had hoped that the Prince may one day take up a long-standing invitation to visit the town but these hopes have now been dashed by the museum's bizarre erection, as many residents fear that our future king would suffer an embolism upon looking at it.

"I do hope that you will consider the 'Vader Wing' as a contender for this year's award."

The Mary Anning Wing was designed by Architecton Architects of Bristol and won approval by West Dorset District Council in October 2015. Lyme Regis Town Council had objected to the plans, stating the contemporary design was not in keeping with the existing museum building or the character of the area. Designers chose to clad the extension in dark zinc in order to protect it from the elements in its position on the Lyme Regis seafront.

David Tucker, director at Lyme Regis Museum, said: “Here at Lyme Regis Museum we’re very proud of what we are able to offer to our many visitors and local people, as well as our role in protecting Lyme’s unique history.

"In the three weeks since we re-opened, we’ve been able to do much more to inspire and educate families, and it’s an absolute joy to see small children enjoying our new Fine Foundation Learning Centre.

"We’re very pleased that the Mary Anning Wing extension is already creating new local jobs and helping generate more wealth and employment for this beautiful town.”

Last year, Hamiltons Architects scooped the prize for Lincoln Plaza in London. Previous famous winners include Media City in Salford, the renovation of the Cutty Sark and 20 Fenchurch Street, also known as the Walkie Talkie, in London.

Also nominated for this year’s accolade is Canaletto, London, Greetham Street student halls in Portsmouth and Preston railway station.