Thousands in Calderdale hit with connection problem after damage to telegraph polce

A permanent solution may soon be in sight for some residents of a Calderdale village whose connections to the wider world came down with a telegraph pole in the weeks before Christmas.
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Third part damage to the pole in Saddleworth Road, Greetland, meant it had to be reached by operator Openreach as it had become unsafe, initially leaving many residents without a phone line – around 1,000 homes were affected.

Calderdale councillor for the ward, Coun Paul Bellenger (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) spent hours in the aftermath of its removal on December 4 calling both BT and Openreach before giving up in frustration.

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A week later, and having taken up the matter for affected constituents again, some residents were still without their key communications link.

Engineers removing the pole at Saddleworth Road, Greetland, in December. Photo: Peter SmithEngineers removing the pole at Saddleworth Road, Greetland, in December. Photo: Peter Smith
Engineers removing the pole at Saddleworth Road, Greetland, in December. Photo: Peter Smith

But a temporary repair for all but two premises was put in place before Christmas and a permanent repair should be undertaken soon, said a spokesperson for Openreach.

She explained that work undertaken by a third party had meant the pole had to be removed for safety reasons and ground stability remained an issue to be resolved.

Engineers worked tirelessly to get the temporary arrangement in place and the permanent one would also address the third party’s request to move the infrastructure to enable work on their site.

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Planning for the permanent fix has been done and will include new underground duct and significant civil engineering, she said.

The spokesperson said: “Third party damage to our network in the Saddleworth Road area caused one of our telegraph poles to become dangerously unstable resulting in loss of service to more than 1,000 premises.

“A replacement pole could not be put in place due to the ground stability so engineers worked tirelessly to put a temporary solution in place to get all but two premises back up and running before Christmas.

“We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused to those impacted – a solution to complete the permanent repair has now been agreed and civils work to build a new underground duct will begin as soon as possible.”

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Coun Bellenger said he was pleased to hear Openreach were able to make a temporary connection for residents affected by the telegraph pole’s removal, with communications so important to people during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“I believe the temporary connection was carried out as a result from the immense pressure put on them from residents, service providers and myself in the run up to Christmas.

“Being able to communicate with family and friends is vital for people at the best of times, however it’s not until we find ourselves in situations like we are in now that we realise how much we rely on such communication services, especially when we cannot see people in person,” he said.