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‘I apologise to everybody who’s been inconvenienced’ - CityFibre addresses complaints

PUBLISHED: 06:00 18 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:52 18 July 2020

Charles Kitchin, CityFibre's city manager for Bury St Edmunds, left, and Jo Churchill MP Picture: CITYFIBRE

Charles Kitchin, CityFibre's city manager for Bury St Edmunds, left, and Jo Churchill MP Picture: CITYFIBRE

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The company behind the fibre network project in Bury St Edmunds has apologised following complaints they have “messily dug up” verges and pavements as well as cut off internet connections.

There have been complaints about CityFibre's work in Bury St Edmunds Picture: MARIAM GHAEMIThere have been complaints about CityFibre's work in Bury St Edmunds Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

CityFibre is installing the infrastructure for a full fibre network in the market town in an £8 million investment, but the standard of work in some areas has left residents less than impressed.

MORE: Town’s full fibre network getting closer to big switch on

On the Moreton Hall estate Suffolk County Councillor Trevor Beckwith is collating complaints including tree roots being cut, a lack of notice about the works and the digging up of areas of driveways and gardens that it has since come to light are actually on the highway.

“They are ruining the estate,” one person said on the Moreton Hall Voice Facebook group, but others also welcomed the upgrade and added “just let them do their job”.

Charles Kitchin, CityFibre’s city manager for Bury St Edmunds, said: “We are aware of complaints in a number of places in Bury St Edmunds.

Complaints include how messy the digging is and the cutting through of tree roots and internet connections Picture: MARIAM GHAEMIComplaints include how messy the digging is and the cutting through of tree roots and internet connections Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

“We are working hard with our contractor to sort all this out to make sure we are doing a good job and clearing up - I know there’s a lot of complaints about the mess as well.

“I apologise to everybody who’s been inconvenienced, but I assure everybody we are doing our utmost to sort things out.”

Mr Kitchin admitted some homes may have been missed when it came to notification about the works, but “that’s not deliberate”.

He said workers had to keep to the highway and weren’t allowed to dig up private land, adding: “We have to stick to strict guidelines.”

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In some areas there are temporary reinstatements in place while works are ongoing, but CityFibre assured people all reinstatement works would be “completed in full, and all areas cleared and made good”.

Materials must match the originals as closely as possible, the company said, and grass verges are re-topsoiled and reseeded.

MORE: Cable company promises to repair roads after Ipswich Society’s anger

Mr Kitchin said Suffolk County Council Highways team oversee the works - which are being carried out by main contractor Lite Access Technologies - and if they are not happy with the quality it has to be redone.

A Suffolk County Council spokesperson said: “We are continually monitoring the delivery of the works and taking the necessary steps to ensure that any reinstatements meet the performance requirements outlined by the Statutory Code of Practice.”

They added: “Interim reinstatements can be made to allow additional time to source the correct materials, which has been difficult to do over the last few months. The sites in question will continue to be monitored to ensure all standards are being met as they move from interim to permanent.”

Mr Beckwith said “we won’t know the impact until the end”.

“It’s very frustrating as, in general, Moreton Hall is well looked after, particularly the planting and landscaping. It’s all being compromised by mass digging up of verges. I think there is a lot of general annoyance about how scruffy the place looks after the work,” he said.

He said it had taken him years to get some pavements on the estate resurfaced and only 18 months later they were getting dug up.

CityFibre also thanked the community for its patience with the work, which, once complete, will provide residents and businesses with state-of-the-art digital infrastructure.


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