Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Residents upset by telegraph poles

RESIDENTS are upset about the installation of two telegraph poles opposite their homes in Kidmore End.

They were erected by Airband, a telecommunications service provider, in Blackmore Lane at its junction with Peppard Road last month.

They are intended for fibre optic broadband but residents claim that they were not consulted.

Emma Louise-Payne, 33, who lives in Blackmore Lane, said she and nine neighbours agreed that they didn’t want the poles and were frustrated by the lack of communication from the company.

She said: “All the residents want any cables in the area to go underground and we don’t mind if the roads have to be closed for that to happen as no one is going anywhere anyway.

“It’s not the end of the world, it’s just that we don’t know what’s going on. None of us saw posters warning us about the poles. They are also an eyesore.”

Miss Louise-Payne, a potter, said residents were concerned about any threat to trees in the street.

She said: “Airband mentioned tree cutting in order to connect the cables between the poles.

“The road has lots of trees and we don’t want any of them removed. They’ve already trimmed back the branches of some at the end of the lane.

“One of the neighbours has a very nice Japanese tree outside his home and he doesn’t want it to be cut down.”

Miss Louise-Payne said that none of the residents was interested in paying for Airband broadband as they are already served by BT.

She said: “Airband mentioned using different infrastructure where possible and we already have infrastructure, so they say they are doing this for our benefit but we won’t use it.

“There are cables that go across from Blounts Court Farm and Blackmore Farm into the lane and there’s BT from Blounts Court Road into the lane.”

Notices stapled to the poles state that residents have 12 months from the installation date to express any concerns.

Miss Louise-Payne said the 10 households had signed a joint letter of objection as well as sending individual ones.

An Airband spokesman said: “The poles in question have been correctly installed on council-owned land with all the necessary approvals after a number of alternative locations were ruled out due to being private land and access being denied by the relevant landowner.

“This is a strategically important section of the network, the completion of which will enable hundreds of local businesses and households in the region to access gigabit-capable broadband and the economic and social advantages that this brings with it.

“A civils supervisor and a civils manager from Airband are meeting with the landowner in question early next week.

“The aim of this on-site meeting is to demonstrate the options available to the Airband project team and to achieve a mutually satisfactory solution for all parties, including the local community.”

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