Cornish villagers 'trapped in their homes' after broadband works
Cornish villagers are ‘trapped in their own homes’ after workmen installing superfast broadband dig up roads ‘without any warning’
- People in Carne View Road, Probus, claim workers used lawns as rubbish tips
Cornish villagers claim they were left trapped in their own homes when workmen dug up trenches outside their driveways to install superfast broadband ‘without any warning’.
Furious neighbours in Carne View Road, Probus, near Truro, claim they woke on Saturday to the pounding sound of jackhammers as Wildanet workers carved up their street.
People living in the road allege they didn’t have a clue what they were doing when they first saw the fast-growing broadband company vans and contractors roll up 24 hours earlier.
They were left caged inside their homes on Saturday morning and allege the workers drove over their lawns and used them as rubbish tips, with one night worker forced to stay at his partner’s house when he was blocked from getting to his own home.
Wildanet chief operating officer Justin Clark issued an apology and admitted some people in the village had not been written to prior to the works, which have now been halted.
People living in Carne View Road, Probus, near Truro, were left trapped in their homes when Wildanet workers turned up ‘without any warning’ and dug up trenches outside their driveways
People living in the street claim they didn’t have a clue what they were doing when they first saw the fast-growing broadband company-branded vans and contractors roll up
A public meeting has been arranged this week while the firm is ‘looking into’ what caused the mishap.
Andrew Willson, who has lived in Probus for 36 years including seven in Carne View Road, said he was less than impressed with the way the growing Cornish telecoms firm has handled it all.
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He said: ‘They arrived on Friday without any notice. We didn’t receive any flyers through the door. There was no signage, nothing. They just arrived and started blocking the road and cutting it open.
‘Traffic was backing up all the way to the Fairfield roundabout. It was chaos. Some of the contractors drove over people’s lawns. But when we confronted them all they did was laugh it off.’
The bus driver was unable to do any gardening over the weekend as his driveway was blocked, meaning he couldn’t take his trailer full of clippings to the dump.
‘Let’s just say I was not too happy when some of their workers used my front lawn as their rubbish tip,’ he claimed. ‘When I dumped their stuff over the barrier into their work area I was just sworn at.’
He said that the work started in full swing on Saturday morning but residents were only provided with plastic ramps to drive over the cabling trenches in and out of their driveways at 2pm, meaning they had been stuck at home or unable to drive back to their house for most of the day.
Wildanet is expected to be in the area, and nearby Church View Road, throughout the week.
Mr Willson added: ‘One of my neighbours works nights and had to stay at his partner’s because he couldn’t get to his house. Wildanet told our councillor that no properties would be blocked off. They were. But what I don’t understand is why they’re putting superfast broadband down when we already have it.’
Wildanet chief operating officer Justin Clark issued an apology and admitted some people in the village had not been written to prior to the works, which have now been halted
Public meetings have been arranged this week while the firm is ‘looking into’ what caused the mishap
Local Cornwall councillor Karen Glasson, who lives in Probus, admitted Wildanet’s communication with residents could have been handled better.
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She said: ‘The parish council knew that some work was going to take place but I completely understand that it was not communicated with residents effectively. That could have been better. There have been some issues with contractors.
‘I have been in contact with Wildanet and they have been very helpful and they are doing what they can to resolve the situation and make sure it is properly handled going forward and superfast broadband can be installed for as many people as possible in the village.’
Justin Clark, chief operating officer and deputy CEO of Wildanet, said the firm has a commitment with working closely with communities prior to work and usually wrote to residents in advance.
‘Unfortunately, this didn’t happen in the case of some properties in Probus and we would like to apologise to residents for this mistake and for the inconvenience caused,’ he said.
‘Work on site is being halted while we look into what happened and speak to residents. As part of this, we have organised a public drop-in session next week to meet with residents, listen to them and answer their questions.
‘This will take place at Probus Village Hall on Tuesday, October 24, between 2pm and 7pm.’
Wildanet was awarded £36million from the government in January to connect up to 19,250 homes and businesses to lighting-fast broadband in south west and mid Cornwall.
The money came from the government’s £5billion pot for its Project Gigabit to supply hard-to-reach areas with better broadband.
A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said the responsibility for liaising with affected businesses and residents lies with the contractor.
‘Cornwall Council can only compel a contractor to maintain safe pedestrian access to a private residence,’ they said. ‘If we are advised that this is not the case, we will inspect the site and issue instructions to the contractor to rectify the matter. We cannot, however, prevent obstruction to vehicular access whilst work is underway.’
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