December 16, 2022 5.00 pm This story is over 16 months old

Lincoln residents angered over sudden broadband poles

They thought the cables would go underground

Angry residents on a Lincoln street had an early Christmas surprise in the form of “monstrous” telegraph poles installed by a fibre company.

Finningley Road residents said they only had a few days notice of the new installations, and that enquiries with Lincolnshire County Council found the works fall under those done by utility companies, which don’t require full planning permission like, for instance 5G masts.

Spring Fibre, which is behind the work, says it has worked closely with local authorities and the poles are the “least invasive solution”.

Residents initially assumed the wires would be installed underground, like Virgin and OpenReach do. However, several 30ft poles have now appeared.

Residents now feel the views from their windows have been spoilt and there are concerns the company will have to damage trees currently covered by City of Lincoln Council Tree Preservation Orders when installing the wires themselves.

Resident Lynn Ladlow has set up a petition against the poles, describing them as “monstrosities”.

She said: “It’s going to be a total eyesore and degrade our properties.

“We don’t need it because we already got adequate lines to the properties.”

Residents have been angered by the installation of telegraph poles in their area when trenches already exist. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Clive Paulger said the area was very quiet and peaceful with all the services laid in the road.

“It just detracts from the area. Residents around here have to apply for permission to trim the trees but they’re putting a pole up right in the middle of one, so apparently they’ve got carte blanche to just come and do it.”

“It doesn’t make sense. In the 21st century we’re going back to the 1950s.”

Bill Malloy’s living room is on the first floor of his property.

“I’ve now got a lovely view of a telegraph pole from my lounge window,” he said.

“It means whenever they’re working on the wires they’ll be able to gaze in, it’s an intrusion of my privacy.”

Bill Malloy’s first floor lounge now has a pole blocking his view. | Image: Daniel Jaines

City of Lincoln Councillor Biff Bean said the company has “not been clear” about the work that was ongoing.

“It’s unacceptable in this day and age, it’s as if we’re going back 30-40 years. Instead of progressive utility work we’re going back to the old style cables blighting the landscape.”

A Spring Fibre spokesperson said they worked step by step with Lincolnshire County Council to “to ensure… the minimum disruption and… the best service to those in the community”.

“We work hard to ensure that teams installing any equipment do so without intrusion or damage to anyone’s property and that they are courteous and helpful at all times,” they aid.

“When planning our coverage, we consider disruption to residents in both the installation of the infrastructure and the installation of the connection to residents’ households.

“In this instance an overhead installation of Fibre offered residents the least invasive solution in the provision of FTTP services in this area.”

They said letters started being distributed on December 9 and added that “all the appropriate planning and notifications processes were followed.

The company also offered to discuss offering a “complimentary service” with a partner Internet Service Provider for an initial period “as a gesture of goodwill if they feel unengaged with the provision of this new service”.

A Lincolnshire County Council spokesman said the Highway Authority considered the location of poles “from a highway safety point of view and grants permits to work on that basis”.

“As a statutory utility company, Spring Fibre has a legal right to install apparatus above ground and underground to provide a service under Ofcom Code Powers,” they said.

They offered to arrange a meeting to mediate between the residents and Spring Fibre but said “we do not have the power to refuse their placement if there are no negative impacts on the highway”.

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