Residents at Margate tower block Arlington House say they are suffering bin chute blockages and have accumulated piles of cardboard during a long wait for promised recycling facilities.
But there could be hope on the horizon after Arlington resident and Thanet council Cabinet member Rob Yates said recycling bins are now on order and due to arrive shortly.
Resident John Moss says that he and others, along with the residents association, have been pursuing Thanet council for several years to provide a recycling service for the 142 flats in the block.
He said: “Last year, the council voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency and undertook to increase recycling in the district. I renewed my appeals to the council to provide a recycling service to Arlington House.
“I pointed out that all the block’s refuse goes down a central chute and everything goes to landfill – cans, bottles, plastics, paper and cardboard as well as general household waste. I added that this was a golden opportunity for TDC to be seen to do something for the environment.”
John says TDC Cabinet Member Steve Albon was looking into introducing a trial recycling scheme for the block at the beginning of 2020 but this did not materialise and then the Covid pandemic hit.
In July a meeting was held between representatives of TDC and landlord Metropolitan Property Realizations Ltd’s management company Parsons Son and Basley, which was attended by Arlington resident and Margate Central councillor Rob Yates.
John said: “I was subsequently informed that it was agreed that TDC would provide a number of additional bins – both for the recycling of paper/card and for the recycling of metal, glass and plastic, but we are still waiting.
“In the meantime, we are suffering chute blockages caused by residents who put large quantities of cardboard into the chute.
“Several times this year I have had to remove such blockages from the chute and clear up the bin room. Even cardboard that residents put in the bin outside the side door is still not recycled – it is collected and emptied into the freighter with the general rubbish.
“The tip was closed earlier this year and that is when I started to hang on to my paper and cardboard. I have continued to accumulate it since July on the promise of the long-awaited recycling bins. I am trying to do my bit for the environment whilst I am waiting for TDC to take action.”
Fellow Arlington resident, Glenda Shephard added: “It is a crying shame that we do not have any recycling facilities here. I have previously taken my cardboard to the tip but it is not straightforward as an advance appointment has to be made for each and every trip.”
However Cllr Yates says the new bins are on order and due to arrive within the next fortnight.
He said: “As the councillor who proposed the climate emergency motion and modified the council’s four year Corporate Statement to include increasing recycling rates across Thanet, I am fully supportive of residents who want access to recycling bins.
“At Arlington House I helped organise the initial site meeting between the council and the new management company and am pleased to report that the recycling bins have now been ordered from the council. There will be both red and blue recycling bins and I expect them to arrive in the next fortnight.”
Arlington House is not a council property. About 98 flats belong to individual lease holders, 36 are retained by the landlord for private rentals and eight flats are owned by offshore company Arrowgrass
Declaring a climate emergency is easy but what does it mean in practice? Action plans, consultation, targets – all great buzz words but without obvious progress are all in effect ‘greenwashing’ . Local residents who pay their council tax still waiting for recycling bins after months of requesting them. Leaseholders paying an annual service charge still waiting for the management company to organise this. It’s all very well for Cllr Yates to say the bins have been ordered. I suspect if they do actually arrive it will be more as the result of the residents in this article highlighting the problem rather than the council being committed to recycling. They can paint 20 mph sign on the road (anyone actually policing this?) but their commitment to increasing recycling is, in reality, a hollow promise. Just greenwashing..
Residents of Arlington House are pleased now to hear that TDC are actually to supply recycling bins to the tower block. However scepticism prevails as TDC’S and the managing agent’s (PS&B) track record in keeping to their deadlines on this matter has been woeful.
I have to say though, the lion’s share of the credit is due to the persistence of one resident of Arlington House not to Cllr Yates, officers at TDC or PS&B who each in their own way, for some reason, appear to have shown limited interest for such a sensible and positive initiative.
It is pretty rich for Cllr Yates to attempt to to take the credit for this recycling initiate. While he may wish to claim the credit over the council’s climate emergency policy, he was not the instigator or prime mover concerning this initiative. He may well have latterly put effort into pushing it forward. I am led to believe unless mistaken, it was also thought it was perfectly acceptable that residents of Arlington House were to be charged a fee for the privilege of recycling by TDC, this despite already paying their council tax. Common sense has prevailed and this surcharge for helping the environment has now been dropped . So residents of AH can now recycle on the same basis as other residents of Thanet, if and when the recycling bins arrive . Hoorah !
This has nothing to do with Cllr Yates and that’s typical of a Labour member to claim credit for something that has nothing to do with them.
The actual credit goes to the particular resident and others that have asked for this for so long.
TDC own the tower block but have hives off management to notoriously inefficient company Freshwater who in turn have appointed inefficient Parsons Son and Basley to do the day to day building management. Both of these are very quick to Bill leaseholders outrageous sums of money for unnecessary work at inflated prices then pay themselves extra fees for overseeing these unnecessary works! Recently leaseholders were billed for carpet cleaning in the car park!!! On several occasions management have been taken to Tribunal by the ever vigilant and proactive John Moss and each time the Tribunal has ordered refunds to the leaseholders. It is utterly ridiculous that it had taken so long to get a simple matter of recycling bins made available to the residents of Arlington House. It’s not as if it’s a building that can be ignored, looming up as it does in the heart of Margate.
Would it be possible to recycle that 200 ft high pile of decaying concrete?
Whatever you think of it they are people’s homes. A pretty crass comment.
They have my full sympathy.
They are beautiful flats on the inside, decent size rooms, good layout and of course the most amazing views. Brutalist architecture might not be to everyone’s taste but don’t judge by the outside only.
Well said Gloria. Yes they are lovely. So much nicer and more spacious inside than the new ‘boxes’ being put up today. Original features in the entrance/foyer and new lifts in the pipeline. Great place to live.
Yes the usual crass comments from Mr Checksfield. Like a broken record. I wonder if he’s ever been inside AH?
I have indeed been inside (had a girlfriend who lived their back in the late 80s), and very nice it was too. Unfortunately, when people arrive in Margate, the first thing they see is the outside.
You are obsessed with that building, it lives rent free in your head.
After years and years of asking, predominantly by one tenacious resident (thank you John), we are hopeful that the recycling bins will actually soon arrive. The many council tax payers in the building have been denied the ability to recycle for years, whereas other Thanet council tax payers have had recycling bins for years. Lots of talk and no action by TDC and the managing agents for far too long.
I loved my flat and the views but despise the serious mismanagement and never ending demands for money from the organisions supposedly managing the building for the benefit of the residents. I used to take my recycling to the tip but that’s no longer possible – where are these promised bins? Council is quick to bill me for council tax, which I pay immediately, so how about some service in return? If the bins arrive it will be due to the tenacity of resident John Moss, nothing to do with any councillor even if they’re trying to claim the credit.