Romsey residents up in arms about BT Openreach's new
pylons

Romsey residents up in arms about BT Openreach's new pylons

Openreach has applied to Test Valley Borough Council for permission to erect the poles which would bring its fibre service to the area.

Locals are concerned Whitenap estate will be less attractive with the new poles and that the tree roots in the area might be damaged.

Whitenap residents at the site of the planned telegraph pole (Image: Robin Taylor-Milton)

Robin Taylor-Milton, 65, of Montford Road said: “The estate was built so there were no cables above ground and we already have virgin fibre underground, so we don’t need these new intrusive cables overground.”

Robin is also upset there has not been any engagement with the community so far on the part of Openreach.

In March, Julia Lopez, minister for data and digital infrastructure, wrote a letter to all open line operators, asking them to take local residents’ concerns into account.

The letter states: “It is more important than ever for you to ensure that you’re doing everything possible to explore the possibility of sharing existing infrastructure and underground network deployment before making the decision to use Telegraph poles.

 “New telegraph poles should only be in cases where installing lines underground is not reasonably practical and only after ensuring that appropriate community engagement has taken place.”

The whole estate has a lot of trees and there are concerns that the cables would damage their roots.

Another Whitenap resident, Gill Coates, 82, said: “I just feel very strongly against it.  We’ve got lovely trees here and we don’t want them ruined.”

Robin and some of his neighbours have objected to the plan via Openreach’s online form.

However, they are exasperated that they cannot object to more than one pole at a time.

An Openreach spokesperson said: “Our proposed work on Montford Road in Romsey is part of a wider full fibre network that will bring ultrafast, ultra-reliable broadband to nearly 250 properties in the area.

“This will not only create huge benefits to families and businesses but also a welcome boost to the local economy.

“Wherever possible, we use existing infrastructure (poles and ducts) while building Full Fibre.  We’re aware of the visual impact our equipment can have and the balance between cost effectiveness, aesthetics and safety can be difficult to achieve.

“As a result, there are times when we simply cannot avoid erecting poles to provide services efficiently, safely and in a sound engineering manner.”

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