Furious homeowner returned from holiday to find driveway blocked by telecoms workers – who then put up 20-metre telegraph pole outside his house in the ‘wrong place’ after neighbours across the road complained
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A homeowner has told how he returned from holiday to find workers erecting a huge telegraph pole right outside his home.
Steve Waldock, 75, arrived back at his detached house in Bradway, Sheffield, after a trip to France with his wife Maggie.
But the couple couldn’t even get into their driveway because broadband firm Connect Fibre was digging a huge hole in the pavement to install the 20-metre tall wooden pole.
Mr Waldock said the company did not notify him of the installation and claimed the mast is in the wrong place – with council planning permission only granted for the opposite side of the road.
However, the pensioner said neighbours complained, meaning the giant pole was erected outside his property instead.
Mr Waldock’s street has become the latest in a series of roads seeing the ‘eyesore’ masts being pitched outside homes, with many residents complaining of ruining views and blocked driveways.
Steve Waldock, 75, told how a huge telegraph pole (pictured) was installed outside his house in Bradway, Sheffield
The pensioner said he arrived back at his house to find his driveway blocked because Connect Fibre was installing the 20-metre tall pole
Mr Waldock said the company did not notify him of the installation and claimed the pole is in the wrong place
The telegraph pole is seen installed outside Mr Waldock’s house in Sheffield
When the pensioner raised objections, Connect Fibre told him in an ‘abrupt’ email: ‘We will not be removing or relocating the pole. We consider this matter now closed.’
The grandfather-of-three said: ‘I have been left angry and frustrated, like I have been banging my head against a brick wall.
‘It is very disappointing. It seems these corporations have carte blanche to do what they want, and the concerns of ordinary people don’t matter.
‘I will get used to the pole, but it is the principle that they can install these things outside homes at will, and in our case not even in the right place. And then behave in such a dismissive way afterwards.
‘We were away, so we received no notification that this was going to happen. They don’t have permission for it. But it is up now. It feels like a fait accompli.’
Mr Waldock described how he and his wife returned to their home of almost 40 years on June 27 this year – only to spot workmen outside.
He said: ‘As we arrived at our house there were a whole bunch of contractors digging a big hole on the footpath, directly adjoining my boundary wall.
‘There was a great big wooden telegraph pole laid out waiting to be installed, which meant I couldn’t get into my drive. In fact, I couldn’t even get within 10 metres of my house because of all the work. I parked up and spoke to the guys and asked what was happening. They said they were putting in fibre optics for the street.
The pole can be seen from down the road near Mr Waldock’s house in Bradway, Sheffield
The pensioner said he could not get into his driveway when returning from holiday because the pole was blocking it
Mr Waldock said: ‘I have been left angry and frustrated, like I have been banging my head against a brick wall’
‘They told me it was supposed to be on the other side of the road, but apparently the neighbours objected, so they decided to put it outside mine. They claimed that under the Communications Act a company can put a pole where it wants.
‘I made a fuss, and this went on for an hour or so. I said I would sit in the hole they’d dug to stop them, but they said they would call the police.
‘My wife called Connect Fibre, while I called Sheffield City Council to say there was a telegraph pole being erected outside my house.
‘A guy came out from the council so he could see for himself, and said the planning permit was for the other side of the road. In the meantime, the workers’ supervisor had called his manager and they were told to carry on and finish the job.
READ MORE: Homeowner’s fury after telecoms workers set up ‘eyesore’ telegraph pole right outside his home ‘without any warning’ – THEN gave him 28 days to complain
‘Well, they went on and put it up. It sits right adjoining my front wall – you can’t get a cigarette paper between the two. I have had to trim my hedge and a cherry tree.’
Mr Waldock raised the matter with Connect Fibre and said the discussions were ‘reasonable’ at first.
However, on October 11 he received an email from a ‘support executive’ stating: ‘On this occasion we have acted within the guidance set out under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.
‘The location of the pole was agreed with the Local Authority/Highways Agency.
‘Residents have 28 days prior to the pole being erected to oppose the location. As we did not receive any objections within the set timeframe, we then continued with the installation.
‘We will not be removing or relocating the pole. We consider this matter now closed. If you do seek legal advice we will communicate with the legal team instructed to deal with the matter.’
After Mr Waldock told Connect Fibre the reply was unacceptable, a second email arrived which said: ‘I understand that the response you received is not what you wanted to hear.
‘We appreciate that changes to local areas can sometimes be upsetting to residents, when we are bringing our full fibre network to a new area.
‘We apologise for any disruption while erecting the pole on your street and blocking the access point to your property. This has been addressed internally and we always aim to improve our procedures from resident feedback. It was not our intention to cause disruption or distress to you in any way.
‘However, our response and decision regarding the pole siting remains unchanged.
‘We are licensed by OFCOM and follow all required planning application requirements before installing any new infrastructure, including poles, including liaising with local planning bodies in order to bring our full fibre broadband network to the communities that need it.
Mr Waldock claimed: ‘I received no notification, nothing through my letterbox – nothing at all. And I was on holiday, so I couldn’t object’
Mr Waldock’s street has become the latest in a series of roads seeing the ‘eyesore’ poles being pitched outside homes
‘We have reviewed our application to erect this pole and we are satisfied that our process has been carried out correctly. We do now consider this matter closed.
‘If you are still unhappy with this response, to see how we deal with complaints please refer to our Complaints Code of Practice.’
Mr Waldock said: ‘Despite what they say, I received no notification, nothing through my letterbox – nothing at all. And I was on holiday, so I couldn’t object.
‘What you are looking for after something like this happens is some empathy, or a sympathetic response from the company. But I have received no apology for the actual pole being there right outside my house, or anything. They only said sorry for the disruption while it was going up.
‘I would still like some acknowledgment or explanation to me as to why it was put there, or why they didn’t put it in the right place.
‘Connect Fibre has behaved in a dictatorial way. And they still need a permit for this pole. If it has been erected and installed in the wrong position, shouldn’t it be taken down and moved to the right place? It is indicative to me that they can turn up at any time or any place and put in a great big pole.
‘They had no concern for us, and erected it in contravention to the permission they had.’
He added: ‘It doesn’t even make sense from an engineering viewpoint – all the other poles are on the opposite side of the road, meaning the cable has to cross over to connect to the one outside my property, then go back over the road again.
‘It is worrying how people who have concerns with these companies are ultimately dismissed.’
MailOnline has contacted Connect Fibre for comment.
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