Concerns raised around ‘endless onslaught of fibre installation’ taking place in Eastbourne

An Eastbourne man has raised concerns around health and safety measures being followed by fibre installation teams in the town.

Niall Corney said there is an ‘endless onslaught of fibre installation currently plaguing the town’.

Niall, a civil engineer, said, “I have spent my career ensuring proper health and safety laws and protocols are followed on site to ensure not only the safety of the operatives, but most importantly the safety of the general public around those sites.”

From this career background Niall said he believes the installation crews for CityFibre have a ‘slap dash, unprofessional approach to public health and safety’.

The pedestrian crossing outside Gildredge House School last week (November 24). Photo by Niall Corney.

In one case Niall said he saw the pedestrian crossing outside Gildredge House School last week (November 24) half closed due to ongoing work and there were no alternative crossings nearby.

He said, “It’s outside a school with 1,000 pupils – truly astonishing!”

Adrian Smith, CityFibre’s city manager for Eastbourne, said, “We understand our roadworks can cause temporary disruption, however, the health and safety of our operatives and members of the public is always paramount.

“As is the case at each of our sites, the works near Gildredge High School were set up and reviewed in accordance with guidelines to allow our team to carry out works safely and effectively.

The pedestrian crossing outside Gildredge House School last week (November 24). Photo by Niall Corney.

“While the footpath in this incident was narrowed for a brief period during the build, we ensured that a pathway and crossing was available for those walking in the vicinity, and ramps were provided to allow safe access.

“We know that the most disruptive elements of the work near the school are now nearing completion, and we will ensure that high standards continue to be met as we complete vital works across the town.

“CityFibre is investing at least £26m to deliver a full fibre network that will future-proof Eastbourne’s digital capabilities for decades to come. We are grateful for the continued support we’ve received from the local community and ask that they continue to bear with us while we work to transform the town’s digital infrastructure.”

Niall also said, “I also find it amazing that East Sussex Country Council (ESCC) will grant work permits for all these works in town without ever it seems policing the works to ensure that very basic health and safety procedures are being adhered to.”

In response to this a spokesperson for ESCC said, “Contractors are obliged to follow health and safety regulations when carrying out work on the highway and this is a requirement of any permits granted by East Sussex Highways.

“A dedicated Network Inspector has been put in place for the CityFibre project in Eastbourne and regular site inspections and site safety audits are being conducted.

“We have not been made aware of safety issues at any of the CityFibre sites but following the concerns raised, the Network Inspector will visit the site outside Gildredge House School to ensure pupils are able to cross the road safely.”