A Green councillor in Clifton Down has secured a commitment from the telecoms giant Openreach to change and enforce their practices in Bristol after raising residents’ complaints with managers from the telecoms company.
Residents in Clifton Down had their phone lines and internet shut off for maintenance work without notice on 22nd September, causing disruption for those working from home at the time. Councillor Denyer also received a number of complaints about new telegraph poles in the ward (which is a Conservation Area) being erected without notice, and in some cases blocking pavement access for people in wheelchairs or with pushchairs.
After raising residents’ complaints and speaking with managers from Openreach, councillor Denyer has been told the company will change their policies in Bristol to try to prevent further disruption in future. The new changes include:
– Openreach will provide 28 days’ notice of any new telegraph poles in Conservation Areas (which cover much of Bristol’s city centre and North West(1)), with the opportunity for residents to object.
– An ‘engagement officer’ from Openreach will be available for liaison with local councillors from across the city.
– Ensure residents are always informed in advance about any planned phone and internet outage due to last more than 20 minutes.
– Ensure telegraph poles never obstruct pavements by forcing people in wheelchairs or with pushchairs into the street – a new pole on Downside Road in Clifton Down will be removed following complaints.
Councillor Denyer said:
“Shutting down people’s internet without notice is completely unacceptable – particularly during the current situation when so many of us are working from home. I’m glad resident’s concerns have finally been listened to by Openreach. And it’s good that they are now working with the Council to give residents 28 days’ notice before installing new telegraph poles – though I think this should be expanded to cover everyone in Bristol, not just those living in Conservation Areas.
“I will be following up with Openreach to ensure that they engage with me and other councillors before carrying out disruptive work in our wards. If anybody in Clifton Down still has complaints about this issue that have not been resolved please get in touch with me and I can chase it up.”
1) There are 33 Conservation Areas in Bristol, covering a substantial proportion of the city – see below map which is a screenshot from Bristol Council’s ‘know your place’ tool (https://maps.bristol.gov.uk/kyp/?edition). The aim of a Conservation Area is to preserve or enhance an areas ‘special character and appearance’ through increased planning requirements. For more information see https://www.bristol.gov.uk/planning-and-building-regulations/conservation-areas.