Villagers form a blockade with their cars to stop workmen erecting ‘eye-sore’ telegraph poles for superfast broadband in a conservation area
- Residents spotted workers starting to put up poles in the village of Poulshot, Wiltshire
- One set about mobilising locals who turned out to confront the workmen
- The contractors agreed to leave after police and council officers turned up
A determined group of villagers formed a blockade with their cars to stop against BT workmen from erecting ‘eye-sore’ telegraph poles in a conservation area.
Tempers flared when resident Steve Housby spotted workers starting to put up poles for superfast broadband in Poulshot, near Devizes, Wiltshire.
He set about mobilising locals who turned out in force and confronted workmen who reluctantly halted proceedings.
Villagers in Poulton, Wiltshire, rallied to stop workmen erecting ‘eye-sore’ telegraph poles in a conservation area – by forming a blockade with their cars
Police officers and a Wiltshire Council employee then arrived and after discussions the contractors from HSC Worcester agreed to leave.
Furious parish council chairman Geoff Collett claimed the company employed by BT had begun without any consultation.
He said: ‘The poles would be a terrible eyesore, we can’t allow this to happen.
‘The green is owned by the parish council and we have had no consultation or paperwork of any kind from Wiltshire Council or BT. What they were doing is criminal damage.
‘I can understand that people at the bottom want superfast broadband but the cables need to go underground.
‘Poulshot is a beautiful village and we do not want these ugly poles in the conservation area.’
A task force of locals was mobilised toconfront the workmen, who then reluctantly halted proceedings
Wiltshire councillor Jonathon Seed, whose ward includes Poulshot, said: ‘It is outrageous that BT has begun this work without any consultation.
‘This is a conservation area and any cables need to go underground. The way BT is using its powers to do this is unlawful.
Wiltshire Council is not in any way to blame.’
Villagers pointed out that when other cabling was needed in the village some years ago a trench was dug.
The workman in charge of the project in Poulshot said he had expected the work to last two or three days and he had wanted to put up five poles on Tuesday.
He said: ‘To put the cables underground would cost between ?200,000 and ?300,000 but the poles would cost about ?2,000.’
The workman in charge of the project in Poulshot said he had expected the work to last two or three days and he had wanted to put up five poles on Tuesday
A Wiltshire Council spokeman said: ‘Having been notified of this issue and the local concern, we spoke to the contractors and asked that they stop the work they were doing pending a thorough review of their plans for that area.
‘We have updated the local community on this matter and will continue to do so.’
A spokesperson for Openreach later said: ‘We’re aware of the concerns in Poulshot about our work to provide superfast broadband access to the village.
‘We have asked our contractor to pause this work while we liaise with the local authority to address these concerns.’