Barton residents left without landline phones and internet for a month
RESIDENTS at a Barton retirement park have had no phone connection for more than a month after wires were accidentally damaged during gas works.
Residents living at Barton Broads Residential Park on Maltkiln Road have reported their phone lines were cut on December 4 during gas main replacement work in the town by National Grid.
June Watkins, 65, who lives at the site, said she has been left inconvenienced by the incident.
She said: "I have been forced to change my mobile phone from a pay-as-you-go to a pay monthly contract.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"I used to spend £10 a month on my mobile but last month I spent £30 because I did not have access to a landline phone.
"We have no internet either, which is a pain.
"We have spoken to BT numerous times but they still cannot give us a day that the lines will be running again.
"The work being carried out by National Grid is finished now but our phone lines are still down.
"There are a lot of elderly people living in the area that rely on their phones.
"The whole situation has caused a lot of problems for everyone."
Another resident, Wendy Prendergast, 71, said: "I live on my own and it has been very frustrating not having a phone.
"It has been a nightmare and we have no idea when the lines will work again.
"Christmas time is when you use your phone the most to keep in touch with family.
"We have not been able to do so."
And Malvern Watkins, 67, said: "It has been annoying not having the internet.
"I rely on it for internet banking and keeping in contact with family and friends."
A spokesperson for BT said three cables were damaged before Christmas and BT had to apply for permission to fix the problem.
This was refused on the grounds that gas works were taking place on the site until Christmas.
The spokesperson said: "BT then attended the site to try and find an alternative way to fix the problem but this was not possible.
"BT have attended the site again twice after the gas company have finished work.
"However, the verge has been declared unsafe due to gravel reinstatement of the surface and it is unsafe to proceed with the necessary diggers we need to use to make the repairs.
"We are sorry for the loss of service customers are experiencing.
"Third party contractors have accidently damaged three cables in the vicinity and we have been unable to access the site due to on-going work by the third party. A visit to site is scheduled this week to establish how we can begin work and restore service as quickly as possible."
A spokesman for National Grid said: "The incident took place in mid-December and we called BT straight away.
"Unfortunately one of our contractors did damage the phone lines while carrying out gas main replacement.
"We fully accept responsibility for the damage and apologise to people who lost their connection. We are very sorry for this."