‘It isn’t good enough’ - council leader reacts to further CityFibre complaints
PUBLISHED: 11:56 11 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:56 11 September 2020
The company installing the full fibre network infrastructure in Bury St Edmunds has been told “the situation must improve” following more complaints.
CityFibre’s Bury St Edmunds manager Charles Kitchin apologised over the summer to “everybody who’s been inconvenienced” after disgruntled locals raised issues over the poor state of verges and pavements after they had been dug up and lack of notice about the work.
MORE: ‘I apologise to everybody who’s been inconvenienced’ - CityFibre addresses complaints
Two months on those living on the town’s Moreton Hall estate are still reporting workers “rocking up” with no prior notice and blocking their driveways.
Leader of Suffolk County Council Matthew Hicks previously wrote to CityFibre to express his concerns over the complaints and said he was “disappointed” to learn of these new reports, “especially those concerning CityFibre’s apparent lack of communication to the public about works happening locally”.
“I had received assurances from CityFibre’s chief executive that things would improve following the letter I wrote in July, so I will be taking these latest complaints up with him again. My position is clear, it isn’t good enough and the situation must improve,” he said.
When the latest reports were raised with Mr Kitchin, he said there was a “great improvement” in August with no complaints, but admitted some people had not been notified in advance last week.
He said: “Again, I apologise to everybody who has been blocked in - it shouldn’t have happened. I have had discussions with the contractor to make sure they get on top of this and [residents] are given advance warning.”
He added residents should always be able to maintain access to their properties.
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As part of a discussion on social media about recent lack of notice on Moreton Hall, Christopher Scott, a sales director from Sutton Close, said it was “wholly unacceptable” how the company treats homeowners.
“We are still waiting for the black tarmac to be changed to the red it was prior to them digging up Sutton Close without notice and causing horrendous problems, obstructions of drives etc. Been waiting since the end of July!!!!”
He said workers also accidentally cut his water off for about five hours, while his neighbour was left without internet.
Cliff Hind, chairman of the Moreton Hall Residents’ Association, described how CityFibre had operated on the estate as “awful”.
MORE: Town’s full fibre network getting closer to big switch on
Trevor Beckwith, Suffolk County Councillor for Moreton Hall, has been collating complaints to pass on to the county council and urged people to contact him so they can be reported and recorded.
A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “Suffolk County Council does not manage the operational programme for utilities works such as those being carried out currently by CityFibre in Bury St Edmunds and across Suffolk. We are, however, aware that complaints have been raised about the standard of work being undertaken by CityFibre to date.
“We did meet with CityFibre to outline Suffolk County Council’s expectations regarding acceptable standards of work and expected levels of communication with the public about such works.
“We will continue to help CityFibre develop their standards in relation to their current project delivery (by providing a form of oversight) and by supporting them to put in place measures to help them improve their ongoing performance.”
Some residents said they had also been left in the dark about how to get connected to the new fibre internet. Mr Kitchin said there is information on the website here.
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