Cheltenham Betrayed should have been written ten years ago. It is published now in an attempt to expose what has been done to one of the three most beautiful urban areas of Britain. Hollowed out by car-parks, spiked by a tower block of vandalistic profile, its Regency villas desecrated or demolished, Cheltenham is a living indictment of planning procedures and a disturbing testimony to the philistinism of local government.

Timothy Mowl's account of Cheltenham's disgraceful recent history will set alarm bells ringing and recriminations flying. After disturbing reminders of what has been lost, he attacks the well-intentioned but wholly misguided pavement politics of the town's Civic leaders. Finally, by focussing on those very few recent buildings that have been designed in sensitive and imaginative awareness of Cheltenham's native classical tradition, he urges an end to that soulless steel and glass modernism which is making towns and cities all over the western world indistinguishable from one another - a treason of architects in the grip of cost-cutting accountants.