North Cerney villagers at war with parish council after vital broadband box is disconnected without warning

BACK L:R - Estelle Collett, Mike Edwards, Elmore Crump and Phillip Walter and at the front Linda De Carles (left) and Sam Frost by the broadband box on the Village Green

BACK L:R - Estelle Collett, Mike Edwards, Elmore Crump and Phillip Walter and at the front Linda De Carles (left) and Sam Frost by the broadband box on the Village Green

First published in News Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

PEOPLE in North Cerney are at war with their parish council after hearing that superfast broadband might not be coming to the village.

Resident Mike Edwards said he has been waiting for superfast broadband, provided by Fastershire, to be installed in the village for nearly four years.

His job as a musician means he often needs to send tracks over the internet, something which is impossible with his current internet strength.

“I was thrilled when I heard we were going to get the roll-out this September,” said Mike. “I can’t upload songs or send them or anything. It takes an age either coming in or going out.

Yet Mike was horrified to find that the vital broadband box installed on the Village Green was actually being disconnected on the Parish Council’s orders last week and thought this meant the village would not be getting the internet many of them need.

It turned out that the Parish Council was not happy with the large green box being installed on the historic Village Green and were trying to find somewhere new for it to go.

“It’s unthinkable that someone can take offence at a green box,” said Mike, who took a petition around the village asking whether residents minded the box being placed on the Green. Only three said they did mind, out of 63 asked.

"We are angry and frustrated that no-one informed us that work had stopped," he added.

Chairman of North Cerney Parish Council Mark Tufnell said that the village would still be getting broadband, and that a lot of the information given had been misinterpreted.

“I spoke to BT and it is perfectly possible to put the broadband boxes on the other side of the road where it will be out of view,” he said.

“The issue is that you cannot go and put something on the Village Green without asking the Parish Council, who owns it, first. We were never consulted.”

Cllr Tufnell said if the boxes could not go on the other side of the road then they would have to stay on the Green.

“I’m very much hoping that the whole thing will happily resolve itself,” he added.

When asked whether North Cerney would still get super fast broadband by this September he said: “I jolly well hope so.”

Another resident and businessman Philip Walters said getting fast broadband was vital for the village.

"We just want normality. In a modern world you need modern technology," he said. "Businesses rely heavily on technology."

Local mother Sam Frost said she thought it was silly for the box to be disconnected.

"It's only a small green box and we need wi-fi," she said.

A spokesman for the Fastershire Project confirmed the parish council had raised the issue of the cabinet being installed on the Green.

"Therefore the installation of a new fibre cabinet is on hold whilst BT Openreach investigate their concerns," said a member of the project.

Ward councillor for North Cerney Paul Hodgkinson has been working hard to make sure the village’s need for broadband is not forgotten.

“I was concerned about the possibility that broadband would be delayed in North Cerney but having to spoken to people, I know it will happen,” he said. “BT is looking at the best places to move it.”

Fastershire is a partnership between Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire County Council and BT to build a world class broadband network. A multimillion pound network that will provide super fast broadband is being rolled out to businesses and homes in Gloucestershire by the end of 2015.

Comments (3)

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9:44pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Col Mustard says...

Who elects the Parish Council ? The people ! who are the Parish Council answerable to ? The people.......funny how this gets forgotten as soon as someone gets elected or worst still co opted which is dictatorship...

Petty tin gods ....
Who elects the Parish Council ? The people ! who are the Parish Council answerable to ? The people.......funny how this gets forgotten as soon as someone gets elected or worst still co opted which is dictatorship... Petty tin gods .... Col Mustard
  • Score: 3

10:39pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Eric_Jones says...

Sounds like a story about not much.
No-one has cancelled the FTTC installation - just questioned a thoughtless location, and I don't blame the,
Here at LEa Top near Malmesbury we had a similar issue. BT openreach just turned up and plonked a big green box right on the corner of a busy junction, completely blocking visibility for cars exiting the junction making it very dangerous. Completely stupid of Openreach and teh parish council asked them to move it - which they did, simply applying some thought and moving the box back a foot or so (as it should have been from the start if anyone had thought about it) solved the problem.
Everyone happy.
Sounds like a very similar situation in N. Cerney wher eif BT Openreach had merely thought about it - or asked the parish council responsible for the green, then a sensible location could have been in place from the start.
Sounds like a story about not much. No-one has cancelled the FTTC installation - just questioned a thoughtless location, and I don't blame the, Here at LEa Top near Malmesbury we had a similar issue. BT openreach just turned up and plonked a big green box right on the corner of a busy junction, completely blocking visibility for cars exiting the junction making it very dangerous. Completely stupid of Openreach and teh parish council asked them to move it - which they did, simply applying some thought and moving the box back a foot or so (as it should have been from the start if anyone had thought about it) solved the problem. Everyone happy. Sounds like a very similar situation in N. Cerney wher eif BT Openreach had merely thought about it - or asked the parish council responsible for the green, then a sensible location could have been in place from the start. Eric_Jones
  • Score: -1

11:29pm Sun 10 Aug 14

David Broad says...

"A multimillion pound network that will provide super fast broadband is being rolled out to businesses and homes in Gloucestershire by the end of 2015." You missed out "Some but not all"
"A multimillion pound network that will provide super fast broadband is being rolled out to businesses and homes in Gloucestershire by the end of 2015." You missed out "Some but not all" David Broad
  • Score: 2

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