Ashford Broadband roadworks compared to war-torn Syria

A pensioner says his street has been turned into a scene akin to war-torn Syria because of fibre-optic broadband roadworks. David Smith, 69, of Aylesbury Road off Trinity Road in Kennington, said workmen have dug up paths and verges and caused chaos for residents for the past month. Virginmedia is bringing fast broadband to residents in the area, but Mr Smith believes that his fellow neighbours are happy with other providers and don’t need the hassle.

The roadworks in Aylesbury Road, Ashford

He said: “They haven’t told us and there was no consultation from Kent Highways about the roadworks. We’ve had diggers, lorries, vans, compressors, it’s been like World War Three.

“It has caused mess and obstructions for everyone, with dust and drilling, and our ward councillor says the borough council didn’t know it was about to happen.

“We just had a note through our door from Virginmedia about it saying that they won’t be around for any longer than they need to be. David Smith says the roadworks have turned residents’ lives “upside down”

“But no one can park, there’s mess all over everyone’s cars, deep trenches have been dug, and nobody here even wants it. It would be cleaner in Syria than it is here. It’s diabolical, they have just blitzed us.

“I thought roadworks were for essential services, I don’t think they should ever have gained permission, our paths will never be the same again.”

Trenches were dug outside Mr Smith’s home

Kent County Council Highways said the roadworks were published on the list of scheduled works, and a spokesman said the authority was not aware of any complaints. Virginmedia spokesman Verity Henderson said the roadworks in Aylesbury Road are due to finish this week, and said the company is putting in the fast broadband to give millions of homes and business access to the service. She added: “As we do so, we endeavour to minimise disruption to local communities and are working with our contractors to ensure that work is carried out with professionalism and at the highest standard.

“In this case, we notified the residents of Aylesbury Road in advance of the work taking place and we apologise for the inconvenience we may have caused.”

90% Of Bucks On Super-Fast Broadband

90% of homes and businesses in Buckinghamshire now have broadband, after a huge project across the county.

And that’s being celebrated because most of this was done on-schedule and was cheaper than expected. High speed broadband is an essential for modern life, which is why BTVLEP has made it one of its top priorities. So much so that the Connected Counties project, a partnership involving Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire County Councils, Herts and Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnerships, Buckinghamshire Business First and BT, has achieved 100% of its targets for the first phase of rollout of superfast broadband to cover 90% of premises in Buckinghamshire.

Not only that, this rollout to more than 45,000 homes and businesses in Buckinghamshire was achieved on schedule and under budget. Michael Garvey, Board Member of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership and Joint Chairman of the Connected Counties Broadband Project Board, said:

“We are delighted with the progress of the roll-out of broadband across Buckinghamshire as high speed fibre broadband is essential if local businesses are to remain competitive.

“As one of the most productive economies in the country we want to continue to provide the conditions for businesses to thrive at the beating heart of the national economy.”

90% Of Bucks On Super-Fast Broadband

What do businesses think?

Superfast broadband provides many economic and social benefits, including job creation, online education, remote health care, support for intelligent transport and mobility and so much more. One businessman who has seen the impact of superfast broadband is Simon Clark a consultant for the oil and gas industry living in Whiteleaf, Buckinghamshire who said:

“I made contact with the Connected Counties team to see if we were going to be upgraded as part of their programme.

“Thankfully it was and now we get an amazing 75Mbps download speed, which is more than 12 times faster than what I had before, it’s amazing.”

Philippa Batting, Managing Director of Buckinghamshire Business First, said:

“Buckinghamshire has one the largest concentration of small businesses in the country, many of whom work from home or are in rural areas so it is essential that we work together to ensure all businesses across the county can benefit from superfast broadband.

“Thanks to the Connected Counties programme delivered by Buckinghamshire Business First on behalf of Buckinghamshire County Council and local partners, we now have plans in place for almost 95% of the county to receive superfast broadband.”

‘An essential, not a luxury’

Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, said:

“High speed broadband is a modern life essential, not a luxury, for every resident and business.

“That’s why it continues to be one of the County Council’s top priorities.

“It’s good to see that we’ve made great progress connecting residents and businesses in areas that commercial providers would otherwise consider uneconomical, but there’s more work to do to ensure that everyone has access.”

More on the project

90% Of Bucks On Super-Fast Broadband

The Connected Counties Broadband partnership started connecting the first premises in Buckinghamshire to fibre broadband as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme just over two years ago. Since then, engineers from Openreach, BT’s network business, have installed over 200 new road-side cabinets across Buckinghamshire to facilitate coverage across the county. Bill Murphy Managing Director of Next Generation access for BT, said:

“The achievement of this key milestone shows the great progress that has been made by the Connected Counties partnership.

“This highly successful partnership is overcoming the engineering challenges posed by a rural area to get superfast fibre broadband to some of the county’s most remote locations.

“The arrival of this exciting technology is a major boost for local communities because whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband.”

With this momentum in place the project now has plans in place for 95% of the county to receive superfast broadband by 2017.

This second rollout of superfast broadband in Buckinghamshire will start later this year and we are working to extend coverage via the Government’s Superfast Extension Programme (SEP), supported by a package of local funding.

To see if superfast is available in your area, use the Connected Counties availability checker.1

90% Of Bucks On Super-Fast Broadband


  1. ^ Are you connected? (

PC Response to Plan MK consultation

Sherington Parish Council would like to respond to the Strategic Development Consultation Document. The document outlines four options for the future development of Milton Keynes. In the opinion of Sherington Parish Council Intensification and Redevelopment of the Urban area and Development to the South West are better options than Development East of the M1 and Satellite Towns in the rural area . Our favoured option would be within the present urban area, the first option mentioned. This should create a truly urban feel to Milton Keynes as opposed to a more suburban expansion over a larger area ( Development to the SouthWest).

The Parish Council is not against additional housing in the village as can be seen from the work being done with the Neighbourhood Plan but this would be in keeping with the preservation of a village and nowhere near what is envisaged for a pleasant rural area in the options for expansion east of the M1 motorway, or of the development of satellite towns in the rural area. There are a number of reasons for favouring the urban area option.

  1. Sherington, along with many other north Buckinghamshire locations , is a rural village that people have chosen to live in because it is just that.
  2. The majority of the transport links are to the west and south of the urban area, not to the north and east where Sherington lies.
  3. There is no infrastructure in the rural area so this would have to be started from scratch and there would be considerable disruption before any housing could be contemplated. It seems pertinent to take advantage of the pre-existing infrastructure of Milton Keynes. The infrastructure cost savings could be then be deployed in a quantum leap in public transport. For example tram, light railway or other public transport could be built to link the redeveloped urban areas to the centre of the city to reduce car movements and the congestion that these journeys cause.
  4. All of the other options would involve discussion with neighbouring authorities with inevitable delays.
  5. The report highlights that around 1750 new homes need to be built each year until 2031. If Sherington took 5000 houses that would be less than three years allocation so this model would have to be repeated many times in the rural area to satisfy demand, destroying each

rural location as the plan progressed.

  1. Intensification is an opportunity to replace poor quality housing with state of the art urban living spaces. New developments should be environmentally efficient and carefully mixed to promote better social cohesion.

    Full involvement of Neighbourhood Plans should be encouraged in this.

  2. Urban development plays into emerging future behaviour and technology trends. The rise of Uber is reducing car ownership by the young urban dwellers in other cities such as London , Paris, New York. Why not Milton Keynes?

In conclusion Intensification and Redevelopment of the Urban area would allow the rural villages to remain villages while being adjacent to a modern vibrant city with all the facilities that the urban area has and would have. The North Bucks villages and their countryside should also remain an unspoilt amenity to the benefit of the city dwellers. These areas should be designated as Green Belt and the villages protected from insensitive development through use of Neighbourhood Plans which embrace the purpose of these villages as places for people to live and urban citizens to enjoy.

Looking at the even bigger picture of the country as a whole should Milton Keynes along with most of the south east of the country be considered for further large scale development causing ever more congestion and widening of the North/South divide?