Apology to West Dean and Litlington resident after delay in phone line repairs

Norman Baker
Norman Baker

A telecoms provider has apologised to its customers for a delay in repairing their phone lines after 26 were damaged by water when a river burst its bank.

MP Norman Baker said some residents in West Dean and Litlington were left for around six weeks without a phoneline.

He demanded an investigation into what he described as the West Dean ‘phones fiasco’ last week.

He called for both BT and East Sussex County Council to provide answers for the delay.

A spokesman for BT said a number of issues delayed the repair but the phonelines were restored to all on December 24.

The spokesman added: “Openreach apologises to those residents affected by the delay in repairing their lines.

“To fix the problem Openreach needed to replace 70 metres of underground cable, but unfortunately the work was delayed by a blocked duct and the need to close a road to do the work.

“Openreach couldn’t manage traffic around the work as the road is too narrow so it needed to be closed.

“A road closure was booked but had to be cancelled as there was another nearby road closure on the same date.

“The duct has been cleared, the new cable has been run and all lines have now been repaired.

“BT is contacting its customers who have been affected to discuss compensation and a goodwill gesture with each customer on an individual basis.

“Customers of other companies should contact their provider to discuss compensation.”

Speaking last week Mr Baker said: “I am demanding that both bodies review this incident jointly and establish what went wrong and what steps they intend to take to prevent any such recurrence in the future.”

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council said: “We can only deal with permit requests once an application has been received.

“Where residents are left without services, permit applications are treated as a priority.

“As soon as we received a request, we acted upon it and BT were able to carry out work two days later.”