20 June 2024

This could be a blight on town

I must admit that some of the “NO TO THE POLES” signs in the recent protest in Hedon caused a bit of amusement in our office – as well on social media.

I think it was the use of capital letters that made it all the more funny, but I would like to make clear that I’m certain the people of Hedon have nothing whatsoever against our eastern European friends.

The poles (lower-case) in question are of course those that are planned to host broadband wires, and I was flabbergasted to discover that MS3 Networks wants to put 500 up around Hedon and South Preston.

When our reporter Rebecca told me this number, I replied: “Are you sure?!”

And yes, this is the quoted figure, which leads me to imagine a veritable forest of the things popping up around the town. Now, for years people have been complaining about the so-called monopoly that KCOM has (it’s not a monopoly, but the fact no other providers have, until now, wanted to seriously challenge them in many areas, it might as well have been), so on the one hand choice has to be a good thing.

However, installing hundreds of telegraph poles just has to be a backward step, hasn’t it? Isn’t there a risk of them being brought down in severe gales, for instance? How is a system of poles and wires in any way “21st century”?

This is aside from the cosmetic aspects of it all, and again, I’m not a fan of nimbyism for the sake of it, but really, this installation does look like it is going to be a blight on the streets of Hedon if it’s allowed to go through.

Sadly, it probably will be, because, as Cllr Steve Gallant points out, the law is on the side of the broadband company owing to an Act passed in 2021 that classes telegraph poles as permitted development.

Was this law challenged at the time, I wonder? I don’t recall it being – it seems to have slipped under the radar and been waved through, like a fair few other things that have the potential to affect our civil liberties. And this is why we need the local press to keep tabs on things.

On another note, I’m playing a set at the Beggar’s Folk Club in Kilnsea on Thursday, September 14. I realise this is publication day so if you’re reading this after Thursday, then… you’ve missed it. Sorry! For those who may be interested in my brand of folky ballads, most of which involve death, I’ll try to let you all know a bit further in advance.