On 8 May Cllr Ann Reid joined fellow Lib Dem councillor Andrew Waller to meet with representatives of TalkTalk and council officers. The meeting followed a letter sent by Cllr Waller to TalkTalk last month expressing concerns received from residents with respect to the work being conducted as part of the Ultra Fibre Optic roll out.
A summary of residents’ issues raised were:
• Verge conditions – stones and gravel prevent grass growing or safe cutting by machines
• Tarmac on concrete driveways –uncertainty as to when tarmac will be replaced with concrete
• Cutting of other cables in the highway
• Bus routes blocked
• Pedestrians put onto the road due to closed footpath
On communications, a new leaflet has been developed to encourage residents to call the Careline if there are issues and to reinforce the message that the crews will be returning to streets after the initial engineering works. There have been instances of other utilities having cables in the ground where they are not meant to be and this has resulted in some residents having telecoms cut (there is a BT Openreach worker with the teams at all times)
It was accepted that there needs to be a clearer communication of plans to residents and ward councillors in relation to:
• Replace temporary tarmac in concrete driveways with concrete (on like for like basis)
• Restoration of verges with re-soiling (replacing the rubble) and grass seed (within the timeframe when it is not too warm/dry for seed to successfully germinate)
• Step up tool box talks to gangs to reinforce customer service requirements
• Review pinch points where there are so many crews and vehicles that it starts to impact on transport in an area
• Review locations where pedestrians needed to go onto the road due to the works
There will be a new inspection regime to respond to residents’ concerns and ward councillors will be asked to check that issues raised by residents have been addressed before final sign off.
It is planned to have a web page for updates, and Frequently Asked Questions, and a summary of the position with roads which have been completed through the process.
Representatives from TalkTalk will give an update at the joint Dringhouses & Woodthorpe and Westfield Ward Committee meeting on 5 June at 6.30pm at the indoor bowls club on Thanet Road.