'A very condescending man who treated us like village idiots' - Cockenzie locals fume over recycling bins

Residents in a quiet community street accused a council official of treating them “like village idiots” in a row over recycling banks.
The row surrounds the bins by the club. Picture: GoogleThe row surrounds the bins by the club. Picture: Google
The row surrounds the bins by the club. Picture: Google

People living on Marshall Street, Cockenzie, complained about a growing number of giant recycling bins appearing at the end of their road, which leads onto part of the scenic John Muir Way.

But at a meeting of Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Council this week, it was claimed when they were visited by a recycling adviser from East Lothian Council, their concerns were not taken seriously.

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And in the end, the local authority’s response was to lock the banks and put up signs saying they were “not for public use”.

One resident, attending the virtual meeting on behalf of the street, said: “He was a very condescending man who treated us like the village idiots.”

The row came after two recycling banks used by Cockenzie and Port Seton’s Royal British Legion club beside the John Muir Way suddenly became six.

The community council was told that the Legion had told its neighbours it had only contracted two of the bins and had no idea why another four had appeared.

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The location is not listed as a recycling point for members of the public; however, residents said that lorries regularly drove up their narrow lane to empty the banks.

Their representative told the community council: “They are on the corner of the John Muir walkway and have multiplied over the years.

“The lorries go up and down the street and a few months ago one of our neighbours had the side of her car nearly taken off.

“We don’t know who the bins belong to or why they are there but, according to the council’s recycling adviser, they get a lot of revenue from them.”

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Bryan Hickman, community council chairperson, noted that the Legion had been closed for most of the last year, so its bins should not need emptied.

The resident told the meeting that after council officials visited the street, signs were put on the bins to say they were not for public use and they were locked.

However, she added: “You can unlock them with a radiator key.”East Lothian Council confirmed that the bins had been locked to stop public use.

A spokesperson said: “The banks that are there are for the British Legion to use and we have contacted them to get an indication of the sizes they require so that we can then replace existing units.

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“However, with lockdown, we have been unable to confirm this and so cannot action at this stage.”

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