Tockington BT broadband box causes controversy
RESIDENTS in Tockington have hit out at an internet company after a broadband cabinet was installed outside their homes without consultation.
On Tuesday morning (February, 25) a big green box was erected on an attractive patch of grass utilized by many in the village.
Hardy Lane residents are not happy with broadband provider BT who they said “plonked” the cabinet outside their homes without asking them and branded it an “eyesore”.
John Green and his wife Angela said they woke up to workers setting up the box.
“It would have been courteous to let us know what was happening.
“We are angry at a worthwhile project being badly mishandled. We are totally in favour of improved broadband in our village and accept that some disruption and hardware will be necessary.
“However what we have is a substantial metal cabinet erected in a central and prominent position which is widely used as a playground and a resting place for the many cyclists and walkers who pass through our village.
The land is owned by South Gloucestershire Highways Department and has permitted development status.
Permitted development is the term used to describe works that can be done without the need for planning permission.
Mr Green said this granted companies like BT “unfettered” control over what happens in local areas such as Tockington.
“In short, they have no need to inform or consult the public, answer objections or take into account any local concerns.
“Clearly the ambitions of ‘localism’ vaunted by central government have no sway in these matters, Neither does the existence of a village design statement which we were assured would carry weight when it comes to even small, intrusive street furniture.
“Our village vision group also have been left on the sidelines. All of this promotes a heavy dose of cynicism in members of the public when they hear our representatives claiming that their voice should and will be heard,” said Mr Green.
Neighbours Sheila Paterson and Jennifer Bone said the box is “ugly” and “doesn’t look countrified” and added that it could have been constructed in a more secluded area.
Councillor for Severn Matthew Riddle said: I very much welcome the arrival of the better broadband service for Tockington and Olveston. BT do have national permitted development rights therefore it can put in a green telephone box anywhere without first needing to apply for planning permission. However, I would have hoped that BT would have knocked on a few doors to seek the views of immediate local neighbours first. I have asked BT to move it to a more appropriate position and have asked South Gloucestershire Council officers to let ward councillors know of any plans for new boxes at a very early stage, so we can consult with local residents.”
A BT spokesman said: “The new fibre broadband cabinet has been installed to provide high speed internet services to people in the area.
It has been sited on highways adopted land in full agreement with the local authority.”