Alternative Provision for New Recycling Facilities at Bevin Court
The greatest concern about the current facilities for rubbish, recycling and bulky waste collection areas at the rear of Bevin Court is that they are very unsightly. 82% of the flats in Bevin Court look out over this unsightly collection of rubbish & waste, yet nothing is done to reduce the ugliness of this area.
Currently, there are 4 paladin bins; two recycle bins, a food waste bin and whatever has been dumped for bulk collection in this area. There is no effort to ameliorate the eye-sore this has created for the residents of the West & East wings, all of whom have a view of this to at least some extent. This is especially true for the residents of Flats 8, 9, 10, 21 and 22 who are largely treated to the unsavoury view of rubbish bins from their kitchen windows.
The photos below are not unusual of the state of the area:
Given that Islington Council intends to withdraw the current “blue bag” scheme for door step collection of dry mixed recycling, we need to find an alternative solution to recycling collection at Bevin Court. It would be a good time to address the issue of the unsightly nature of the facilities at Bevin Court as the current eye-sore is potentially being enlarged even further by the possible addition of two more recycle bins. There was a strong opinion among residents that Bevin Court is continually overlooked for improvements outside of cyclical major works. The perception among residents is that Bevin Court rarely, if ever, benefits from either the Estate Security or Environmental Improvements budgets, for example. The major impetus behind the creation of the new TRA at Bevin Court was to try to increase our representation at Old Street and gain better access to these resources. At a recent Old Street Area Housing Panel meeting, a list of 30 projects totalling over £220,000 was distributed which included an item for £3,000 budgeted and over £10,000 actually spent on decorative screens for the bins at Hawkwell Walk. Surely there should be some funding from the Recycling or Environmental Improvements budgets for some waste management improvements at Bevin Court?
The provision of facilities to replace the withdrawal of the blue bag recycle scheme needs to be carefully & sensitively considered, especially given Bevin Court’s Listed Building status and location within the New River Conservation Area. I would suggest that the Recycle Team should take advice from the Council’s architects and Conservation Officers regarding placement of new bins and the construction of any new hard-standing areas, ramps etc. This document is a collection of ideas from members of Bevin Court’s TRA and is not expert opinion.
The following have been suggested as alternative locations for the new recycle bins planned:
1. Place two additional bins in front of the boiler house
This is the current proposal by Islington Council. Two bins would remain where they currently are and two additional bins would be placed on the driveway in front of the boiler house, to the left of the boiler house doors but not obscuring them. This has the advantage of requiring no work or expenditure on the part of the Council. However, residents have raised a number of objections to this proposed location. Objections/concerns raised were:
1.1. Placing bins here would increase the problem we already have with people gaining unauthorised access to the building by climbing over the railings in front of flats 15-16 by giving the offenders a new object to climb on
1.2. Placing bins here would increase the blight at the rear of the building
1.3. Placing bins here would be an unfair noise, odour and visual nuisance to the residents immediately above them (flats 14-16)
1.4. Having recycle bins in two different locations at the rear of the building would be confusing for residents
Concern 1.1 could be reduced or removed by installing additional clear polycarbonate screens above the railings in front of flats 14-16, but this removes the cost-free attraction for the Council. It is more difficult to see how concerns 1.2 or 1.3 could be addressed. A decorative screen would not resolve the issue with appearance as residents of the first floor East Wing look down on the bins, not out on them, so the bin chamber would need an attractive roof. One resident suggested covering the chamber with a climbing plant, for example.
2. Review the case for a recycling chute at Bevin Court
Rather than place additional bins on the estate, residents suggested reviewing the possibility of a dedicated recycling chute at Bevin Court. Bevin Court has three rubbish chutes. One is located in the central staircase between the lifts. The other two are located at the distal ends of the East & West Wings. In 2012, Bevin Court was reviewed by Anna Burns for the conversion of the blue bag scheme to a dedicated recycling chute scheme. The proposal was to convert either the central chute or the distal chutes to dedicated recycling chutes. This was dismissed, as I recall, because the South Wing has no chute at its distal end, unlike the East & West Wings, and it was felt that the central chute would require too much re-education to get residents on-board. We would ask that this proposal – convert the central chute at Bevin Court – be included in a list of options for the upcoming planned consultations with residents. If there is sufficient support for the idea, this would be the ideal solution to trial. The two existing recycle bins could remain where they are for collection of larger items e.g. flattened boxes etc., with the bulk of recycling collected via the central chute.
3. By the pump-house off the entrance to the car park
This will require an area of hard standing to be laid and should preferably be enclosed/covered with a decorative screen and be lit. There are some hopes/plans afoot for additional lighting at the rear of Bevin Court anyway. We were gifted £1,500 by Islington Film Fixer towards the cost of additional lighting at the rear of the estate, specifically around the two stairwells that lead to the car park and at the gate to the car park, as this
area is in total darkness. Lighting the recycle station in this area could be accomplished as part of this scheme.
There is some concern that the proximity of this site to Bevin Way could encourage fly-tipping, as we already have a problem with people not from the estate dumping bulky waste to the rear of the building. There was also some concern that this was “too far” from the building and that people would not use it. If all 4 bins were situated together, rather than 2 in their current spot by the paladin bins and 2 here, this would alleviate this concern. This area has the advantage of not contributing to the ugly views at the rear of the building for residents of the second floor and above, as it is undercover of trees. This could be further reduced by the use of decorative screening to hide the bins from view.
4. At the end of the emergency access road at the rear of the building
This will also require an area of hard standing to be laid and should also be enclosed/covered with a decorative screen and be lit. Lighting the area should be relatively inexpensive as it is close to the building. The kerb stones which were here were removed and not re-instated by Breyer to allow the installation of a metal storage cube in this area during the contract they performed on the estate, so it is essentially level access already.
This may share the same concerns of being “too far” for people to use. It may also be disruptive to the residents at the end of the West Wing, especially Flat 13 and 25 on the ground at first floor who would be in close proximity, and may be seen to extend the blight at the rear of the building by including areas at both ends of the West Wing.
5. In the portico behind Flat 13 at the end of the West Wing
This would require the installation of ramps to allow the bins to be wheeled from the portico to the adjacent pathway and also from the pathway to the driveway at the rear of the building as there are currently 2 small steps there.
Again, this may share concerns of being “too far” for people to use. It may also be potentially disruptive to nearby residents, especially Flat 13. This portico already attracts some ASB; for example, stolen motorbikes taken for “joy-rides” by local youths have been dumped here, there have been instances of drug user and prostitution in this area as well as urination. There was mixed opinion as to whether the installation of a recycling centre here would contribute to or reduce the incidence of ASB. It has the advantage of not being overlooked by any of the flats and being discrete/not contributing further to the current eyesore of rubbish at the rear of the building. It is also under cover and already lit.
6. Extend the area where the bins are currently housed
The difficulty with placing more bins adjacent to the current two bins is that they would potentially reduce the width of the access road at the rear of the block, making it too narrow for fire appliances.
There is an existing cut-out in the sloped area adjacent to the current bin location which
houses a manhole cover. The area to the right of this cut-out could be excavated,
walled at the back and tarmacked to make a new, level area which could easily house 4
bins without restricting access for emergency vehicles. The area should be disguised with a
decorative screen to hide the bins from sight. This has the advantage of being close to the
other waste receptacles (paladin bins, lumber store and food waste bin).
7. At the front of the building by the pram sheds
This would require the installation of a ramp leading from the pram shed path to the driveway area adjacent to Flat 6 so that the bins could be wheeled from the area opposite the pram sheds to the driveway/parking area bays 1-6, but should be a minimal expense. The rest of the area in already paved and level. There is sufficient space for 4 bins to be placed in the area, facing the pram sheds. This is another area which may be “too far” for residents are use, but it has the perceived advantage among some residents of removing a source of blight from the rear of the building and redistributing it more evenly among the three wings as the South/Maisonette currently does not overlook any of the waste facilities at Bevin Court.
It may be difficult for the recycling vehicles to access the area due to the circular driveway at the front of Bevin Court.
This document was originally produced 11 Feb 2016, when it was displayed in the lobby and on the notice board at Bevin Court. It was added to the blog 21 July 2016.