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Win for Fife villagers as ‘obtrusive’ broadband poles torn down

Mary Hacking from East Wemyss
Mary Hacking from East Wemyss

A series of telegraph poles installed in a Fife village as part of a broadband upgrade have been torn down after complaints from residents.

Openreach installed the “obtrusive” poles in East Wemyss as part of the introduction of full-fibre broadband to the area.

But residents took issue with the five poles, which they say obscured their sea views and could affect the value of their homes.

One of the poles was installed just metres from a window on Mary Hacking’s house, obstructing her view over the Firth of Forth.

The broadband pole before it was torn down.
The broadband pole before it was torn down.

She said: “They just went ahead and put these poles up all around the village, likely as a cost-cutting exercise because they don’t want to put cables underground.

“They were overbearing and obtrusive. They just spoiled what is a beautiful little village.”

Mrs Hacking and several other residents signed a petition which was sent to Openreach asking the firm to reconsider.

In response, the telecoms giant, which manages most the UK’s telephone and broadband infrastructure, said it would be removing the poles after resident feedback.

Mary is glad to petition worked. (Pic: Steve Brown)

Mrs Hacking welcomed the U-turn, saying it showed the benefits of fighting your corner.

“It shows that speaking out can make a difference,” she said.

Work took place early on Tuesday to remove the five poles, including the one outside Mrs Hacking’s property.

An Openreach spokeswoman says the company is working to deliver gigabit-capable broadband in East Wemyss – which she says will bring “huge benefits to local families, businesses and the economy”.

The broadband pole obstructed the view.
The broadband pole obstructed the view.

The upgrades will mean 6,400 homes and businesses in and around Leven can order some of the UK’s fastest broadband.

The spokeswoman said: “Wherever we can, we use our existing duct and pole network to avoid digging and disruption.

“But in order to be able to include some properties in the upgrade, we may need to put up new poles or carry out roadworks.

Openreach goes ‘back to the drawing board’

“In this case we’ve had several complaints from the local community about five new poles – and we’ve listened to residents’ views and sympathise.

“Last week we arranged to have the five poles removed, and the work is planned for Tuesday.

“We’ll go back to the drawing board to consider how to move forward with the broadband upgrade.”

Local councillor David Graham welcomed the decision.

Fife Council Councillor David Graham
Councillor David Graham.

He told The Courier: “We all want to see a better internet service for our community and the community are very understanding of the efforts of Openreach to achieve that.

“However, the company needs to be considerate of the residents whose properties surround the proposed location of the poles and take into account any concerns they have before finally installing them.

“I’m delighted to hear that the company has listened to the concerns of the residents on this occasion and will have them moved to a more suitable position.”

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