‘Just appeared overnight!’ Furious residents outraged as thousands of broadband poles go up on doorsteps

‘Just appeared overnight!’ Furious residents outraged as thousands of broadband poles go up on doorsteps

East Yorkshire campaigners stand up against sudden installation of telegraph poles

GB News
Anna Riley

By Anna Riley

Published: 02/10/2023

- 10:28

Updated: 02/10/2023

- 13:31

Parliament petition launched and signed by thousands to stop broadband poles in East Yorkshire

As the law stands, new telegraph poles and overhead lines can be installed anywhere across Britain without council approval or consultation with residents, with telecommunication companies only needing to display signs giving 28 days’ notice.

But campaigners in East Yorkshire want to put a stop to this.

The group, known as Going Underground, have launched a petition for the law to be changed after plans have been made by company MS3 to erect 500 broadband poles in the quaint Georgian town of Hedon.

Residents there think the poles will look unsightly in their town and want new internet providers to instead use existing underground cables and say the issue they are facing is happening across the UK.

Steve Gallant, East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor for South West Holderness speaks to GB News

Councillor Steve Gallant backs the campaign launched by Going Underground

GB News

Ray Duffill, Going Underground Campaigner told GB News: “We’ve seen similar companies elsewhere adopting the same type of tactics. Mostly people have woken up one morning and seen a big lorry arriving and installing a pole at the back of their house or the front of their garden.

“So in other parts of the country, these poles have appeared almost overnight as far as lots of residents are concerned, but here we know it’s coming so we’re going to do everything we can possibly to stop them arriving in our town.”

Those that live here are concerned about the appearance of the poles and question the need for them.

Ray Duffill, Going Underground Campaigner told GB News: “It’s a real blight on the landscape, it ruins the whole appearance of the town and it’s not necessary because we’ve got a perfectly underground system of fibre network available and the company, MS3 networks, could be using that.

“Hedon is a beautiful, ancient town. We’ve got a beautiful place to live and these poles are going to make the whole place really unsightly, we’re going to have networks of cables running all over the place and this might not be the only company that decides to deploy its poles.

“So, if another company decides to deploy its poles as well, before long, we’re just going to have a forest of telegraph poles and I think it’s just something that people don’t want to see.”

The law was changed in 2022, waiving requirements for planning permission for infrastructure such as poles and underground cables.

The Going Underground group want this to be reversed and are also asking Hedon residents to boycott the use of any internet provider using new poles.

The petition launched by Going Underground calls for requirements for planning permission to be brought back.

It states: "Amending legislation will ensure that planning permission is only granted when there is good reason for an installation, this should help reduce risk posed by cluttered streets to the visually impaired and wider community."

Julie Dervy, Going Underground campaigner, said: “The government shouldn’t have changed the law to say that telegraph poles can be installed wherever telecoms companies feel like without getting planning permission.

“We’d like them to change that back urgently because in the meantime we’re risking this happening all the time, everywhere.”

Residents of Hedon protest against MS3 poles

A local resident in Hedon joins the protest against building MS3 poles in their gardens

GB News

East Riding of Yorkshire cannot stop the broadband poles from being erected, but back the campaign and petition.

Steve Gallant, East Riding of Yorkshire Councillor for South West Holderness and Leader of the council’s Labour Group spoke to GB News about the local authority’s position.

He said: “We as county councillors and the planning department have all had the ground cut from beneath our feet by the government changing the law, so however inappropriate the sighting of the pole is, there’s nothing under planning law that we can do about it.

“Ideally what would happen is Ofcom would get involved and make the internet companies work together, you know if you switch water supplier or electric supplier, you don’t get new cables and new pipes, you share the infrastructure and that’s what internet companies should be doing as well.”

Broadband provider MS3 says it is acting within the law and wants to engage with the community.

Guy Miller, CEO of MS3 Networks and told GB News: “MS3’s mission is to overcome the challenges local people have endured for decades due to a lack of choice of broadband provider.

“Our intention isn't to cause a disturbance; we're finally providing the choice of competitive broadband that the area has long anticipated. To do that, we have to install new infrastructure.

“We know that those that switch network can save an average of £18 a month on broadband costs, and that there are people in Hedon that would like to have that choice.”

The Going Underground petition hopes to get 10,000 signatures before Friday 6th October for the issue to be raised in Parliament.

Click here if you would like to sign the petition to exclude telecommunication installations from permitted development legislation - https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/635960

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