January 23, 2023 9.31 am This story is over 15 months old

Spring Fibre leaves Lincoln wards: ‘Work complete’ on controversial telegraph poles

However, company will now move on to its next location

A broadband company which caused controversy in Lincoln says it has “completed” its work in two city wards meaning no more new telegraph poles for the area, for now.

Spring Fibre has confirmed it is no longer working in the Birchwood and Hartsholme ward “for the foreseeable future” following fierce backlash from local residents and campaigners, including a more than 900 signature petition.

Instead, the company has now moved on to other areas in Southwest Lincoln including Moorland Ward  – where Labour Councillor Biff Bean lives.

A spokesperson for Spring Fibre said: “Poling work that is completed for the foreseeable future in both Birchwood and Hartsholme wards, work on completing the service, which could include installation to a resident’s property continues.

“We continue to roll out services across Southwest Lincoln and Lincolnshire and will be doing so throughout 2023 using a multitude of services that includes overground, underground and ducted infrastructure.”

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

Councillor Bean, who has been at the forefront of a residents’ campaign against the poles, met with representatives of Spring Fibre alongside parliamentary hopeful Hamish Falconer on Friday.

He was celebrating after being told during the meeting there would be no more works.

“Residents can now breath a sigh of relief for the foreseeable future,” he said.

“However, I’ll continue to fight to get poles taken down and get more consultation and opportunities for residents to have their say in the areas the company moves on to next.”

Campaigners believe Lincolnshire County Council’s highways department should have done more to object to the plans.

They are keen to point out that they are not opposed to broadband upgrades but that they should be underground – utilising existing trenches where possible.

Councillor Bean said the company would have been forced to use a different method of installation had they done so, pointing to City of Lincoln Council’s planning department rejection of telegraph poles installed by City Fibre in Birchwood.

However, due to Spring Fibre’s works taking place on highways and because they are considered utility maintenance under the Highways Department rather than coming under planning regulations.

This gives the county limited options when it comes to stopping permitted works as they need to be shown to disrupt the highway in some way.

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney recently came under fire for taking donations from a company connected to Spring Fibre| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Spring Fibre said it would work “step by step” with Lincolnshire County Council and would work “very hard” to ensure minimum disruption.

“When planning our coverage, we review disruption to residents both in terms of installing the infrastructure and connection to properties,” they said.

“In this instance, running the fibre cables overground via a telegraph pole offered the least invasive solution for providing a total ‘Fibre to the property’ (FTTP) service, whereas an underground installation of cable can lead to very invasive installations to residents’ properties when they decide to order an FTTP service from an ISP.

“Unless incorrectly placed, infrastructure that has already been installed will remain in place.”

The poles have also seen objection from Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, however, recent revelations have shown that he received £7,500 from another company which could be shown to have connections to Spring Fibre – which opponents say has thrown his commitment to the cause into doubt.