A GROUP of residents in Machynlleth are demanding answers from BT Openreach after a telegraph pole was installed on what they say is private land in the middle of a residential street.

Residents in Garden Village say they’re shocked after contractors working for the telecommunications company arrived to install the “eyesore” pole on land that they believe is part of their deeds, on Tuesday, August 28.

Resident Jason North says the green is maintained and paid for by residents of the street as part of a historic agreement to protect the integrity of the former 19th century Bournville development, a design created by George Cadbury to provide high-quality homes and address cramped housing conditions of the time.

“This eyesore of a telephone pole that has been installed shockingly in middle of the green on private land owned by residents of Garden Village,” he said.

“The pole was installed by stealth tactics without permission or notification to residents of Garden Village on land that is part of our deeds.

“Living in Garden Village comes with firm rules that’s in place with legal covenants behind them on what residents can and can’t change about how homes, and surroundings to protect the integrity of Garden Villages.”

Mr North also says the street was left without telephone services for two days earlier this week while work was carried out, and that numbers were mixed up resulting in residents receiving each others calls, although this problem has now been resolved.

In reply, Openreach say the work was completed to resolve a potential health and safety risk caused by the old plastic pole in the street, and have apologised to residents for the service interruptions they received during the time the work took place.

In response to a query by the County Times this week, an Openreach spokesperson said: “Engineers have replaced a plastic pole with a new, wooden pole to avert a potential health and safety risk posed by wiring. New wiring has also been installed which meets our minimum safety requirements.

“The new pole was installed on the public highway within a metre of the curb line, which means Wayleaves and planning permission aren’t required. We’re sorry for any inconvenience while the work was carried out.”

Residents say they will continue to fight on the issue, and have penned a joint letter of objection which has been sent to the company’s ‘pole objection team’ with supporting evidence to indicate that the pole is not on council owned ground.

They say the matter has also been referred to the highways department at Powys County Council for further investigation.