Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Arlington House could look more like this -
rather than like it does . . .
Arlington House Residents Association has unveiled its own aspirations for the refurbishment of the tower block. The exterior of Arlington House is due to be upgraded as part of the redevelopment of the Arlington site.

The site is owned by Thanet Council and is on lease to multi-national property investment company Freshwater. Freshwater has made several attempts to steam clean and stain the exterior concrete panels of the seafront tower but the results are far from satisfactory. Residents Association Chairman Ron Greene says, “I am amazed that Freshwater is continuing to experiment with trying to paint over the concrete panels. They have been exposed to nearly 50 years of weathering in an exposed environment. Salt, sand and dirt have taken their toll. The steam cleaning merely pushes the dirt and salt further into the concrete. The painting of the panels does nothing to rid the building of its reputation as an eyesore as the inherent discolouration can still be seen. The Association has presented the Council with a report detailing options which would meet the requirements of the Councils own planning brief. This latest report contains sample images to give an idea of what the block could look like if this one off opportunity is properly grasped. Freshwater should not be allowed to just to the bare minimum in order to get planning permission for Tesco to be allowed onto the site.”

The Councils Adopted Planning Brief was published in October 2008 and outlines the requirements for the redevelopment of the Arlington site. The document makes numerous references to matters relating to Arlington House including:
improve the environment of residents; improving the visual impact; changing the public perception; high quality external refurbishment; sustainability; energy efficiency and environmental impact improvement.

The Planning Brief also provides for a Section 106 agreement which allows the Council to require the developer to refurbish Arlington House to become a positive landmark. The Council has recently issued a press release entitled “Countdown to Turner” announcing £100,000 to be spent on improving seafront eyesores. However, the biggest of those eyesores – Arlington House – is missing from the list. Cllr. Latchford is quoted as saying, in essence, that he does not want the eyesores to impact the views of Turner Contemporary visitors.

The Residents Association first put forward a report in February 2009 showing the sort of changes and improvements that could be made to the building as a result of complete external cladding. Other tower blocks in Thanet had already been refurbished using a similar principle.

Ron Greene commented, “I do not feel that what we have seen from Freshwater so far comes anywhere near what is needed to improve the block to the satisfaction of the Arlington residents, the Council or the people of Margate. Freshwater plans have still not materialised – here we are nearly two years on from the planning brief and still awaiting details of what Freshwater intends to do. Clearly, the eyesore of Arlington House will still be the first thing that people arriving by road or train to visit the Turner Contemporary will see when it opens in May next year. ”. ENDS

Contact: Ron Greene 07754 588193/01843 230074

Please note that the illustration of how Arlington House COULD look is for illustration

purposes only and is not meant to be an accurate representation of the actual façade of

Arlington House.

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