Trial by telephone for a cut-off community

Pat Allouis (front) with her neighbours (left to right) Elizabeth, Mark and Ted Turner, Bryan and Barbara Barnes
Pat Allouis (front) with her neighbours (left to right) Elizabeth, Mark and Ted Turner, Bryan and Barbara Barnes

A furious group of Inglewhite residents are demanding to know why they have been “holding on” for three weeks.

That is the time they have been waiting for their telephone services to be reconnected following the storms of February 12.

They say their appeals for help or updates from their phone providers - the Post Office and BT - have fallen on deaf ears. Now they are demanding a rental rebate and compensation, but most of all they just want the telephone line - which they can see has fallen down on the nearby main road - reconnected.

They say the lack of a landline, in an area which has inconsistent mobile reception, has major implications for health, safety and business and that they have had repeated difficulties when trying to report the fault.

Mrs Pat Allouis of Scotch Green Lane, said: “It’s appalling. I feel we’re going back to the 1900s.”

Her husband is seriously ill in hospital in France. The couple normally speak twice a week: “Now I can’t get in touch at all.”

Mark Turner, of Little Scotch Green Farm,said: “We’re trying to run a business but we can’t update the cattle movement records which have to be done on line and we’re potentially facing high fines.

“We had to do some cattle TB testing and the vet can’t get in touch to tell us what the results are. We can’t check the weather or if there is any flood warning. We don’t know whether to plant our crops or turn the animals out.”

Barbara Barnes’ husband Bryan missed vital hospital appointments because he could not be contacted.

A Post Office spokesman said: “We can’t really apologise enough. As soon as it’s up and running we can offer a credit for the time the customer was without service and offer a goodwill gesture for inconvenience.”

A BT spokesman said:”An engineer went out on February 13 to investigate the faults. Two spans of overhead cable needed to be replaced. Work to replace the overhead cable was completed on Tuesday.

“However, during the course of this repair work, additional damage has been detected, which engineers are still working on. Openreach apologises for the delay in restoring services.”