Openreach Poles Provoke Complaint

By Jane Cruickshank / January 26, 2022

HARBOUR residents unhappy about recently installed Openreach poles have a year to register their complaints with the company – and one resident is hoping as many as possible will do just that.

Stuart Alexander now has a pole measuring approximately 15m very close to his property – and, with another a short distance away, feels he can look forward not just to faster broadband, but also to an unsightly mess of radiating cables to each household.

Mr Alexander said the poles are not in keeping with the local built heritage and environment. The harbour area is within Stonehaven’s conservation area – and the poles are close to listed buildings such as the A-listed Rivendel, and B-listed Town House with its clock tower.

But, he was disappointed to find out that communications infrastructure is permitted development – so does not require planning permission.

”Stonehaven already has a lot of ‘fibre to the cabinet’ infrastructure buried across the town from the exchange in Cameron Street, ” he said.

”Why the sudden shift to pole-based distribution at the residential end of the network? It must be purely down to cost, and the strategy has taken no cognisance of the damage to the amenity of the town this will have.”

Openreach’s complaints procedure

An Openreach spokesperson said: “We’re building a new, full fibre network in Stonehaven to give residents access to gigabit capable broadband. The new network already passed more than 1,300 local homes and businesses, who could now order some of the UK’s fastest, most reliable broadband from their chosen provider, and work continues on the ground.

“Wherever we can, we use our existing duct-and-pole network to avoid digging and disruption. But in order to include some properties in the upgrade, we may need to carry out roadworks or put up new poles.

“We strive to select and site our infrastructure sensitively, balancing this with the need to meet local broadband demand. Poles need to be in the right place to provide internet, TV and other services to properties, must avoid other underground services like gas and water pipes and drainage, and meet regulations on space left on the pavement for pedestrians, cyclists and prams.

“All network providers follow a statutory process to install telecoms infrastructure on public land. We give local authorities 28 days’ notice before we put up poles, and liaise with them if they raise any concerns about planned installations. Under the rules, residents have a year to object to new poles. Details are pinned to the poles.”

Hoping to rally some support for his complaint

Mr Stuart said he wanted to garner the support of the community in an effort to see this broadband upgrade done properly.

”But as both ‘poacher and gamekeeper’ I do not harbour any great hopes for a satisfactory resolution from the Openreach objection team,” he added