Peeved Philip wins battle to remove pole towering over home

A homeowner has won a ‘David vs Goliath’ battle with a broadband supplier which agreed to take down a 40ft-high pole it erected at the end of his drive without consultation. Philip Waller, 65, went "ballistic" when he came home to find that Connexin had put up the pole just 16 feet from his living room bay windows.

The grandad-of-10 then spent weeks gathering dozens of objection letters from neighbours and lodged complaints with councillors. And though he was originally rebuffed by the company, his local council later confirmed it had been put up without “due process” and ordered its removal.

Relieved Philip, who had feared his £300,000 bungalow would be left "worthless" if the pole stayed up, said: “It is a bit of a ‘David and Goliath’ situation. We’ve only won because what they’ve done is illegal, but if I had not objected, it would be there forever. The big issue I have is these companies think they can steamroll over people."

Philip, a company director, said he had left his three-bedroom home to do some shopping on May 30. His wife then received a knock at the door from workmen who said they had come to fit 'something to read water smart meters’. But just 10 minutes later, she found to her horror they were putting up a towering pole just six inches from the driveway entrance.

Philip, who arrived home to see the pylon up, said: “I sort of went ballistic, as one does. We had no prior warning, but apparently the company is not obliged to give 28 days’ notice any more because the pole is covered by fibre optic roll-out regulations. It’s roughly 12m high, it’s literally about six inches from my driveway, and it’s a car’s width - about 5m max - from the window.”

Philip said he was particularly concerned about how the pole would affect the price of his property.

He added: “I was mainly worried about the depreciation of the house. If the pole was left in front of the bungalow, it would be worthless. I definitely wouldn’t buy it. I have got a house in Burgundy, France. In a similar situation, the pole would be burned down by now."

Philip immediately started speaking to neighbours about the incident and wrote to Connexin to voice his anger at what they had done. But in written correspondence, the firm claimed it had the right to put up the pylon as it had obtained the correct permission from the local council.

A representative had informed Philip: “Unfortunately, it has been decided by the planning team that this pole will remain in its current position. When sending a proposed pole location to council highways and planning departments, we do always have a few metres flexibility due to the chance that utilities may be discovered on the day of the install, which makes the planned location unsuitable.

“Due to this, the pole has been installed within the approved area for the pole. We would be unable to relocate the pole, we are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

But Philip kept fighting his corner and his inquiries revealed that Connexin did not have the right to erect the pole.

Connexin has been contacted for comment.

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