Ratton Ward Councillor Colin Belsey is trying to help residents with complaints about the CityFibre optic cable laying,

Cllr. Colin Belsey has been inundated with complaints from the Rodmill estate and Kings Drive areas regarding the state of pavements after trench digging for the pipework for fibre optic cables.

Colin said: “Some roads have been left in a mess and barriers have been in position for weeks in Beverington Road.

“I am doing my best to respond to everyone who contacts me, but, the Rodmill estate has been a real problem.

“I understand that there is a problem with supply of the required materials to finish as they go, I was told this by one of the workforce.

“I am glad that the majority of Ratton School students are crossing the road at the hospital and again at Park Avenue, thereby keeping safe on their route to school, as the western side of Kings Drive has no pavement.

“I have been asking questions of Highways at County Hall.”

Highways issued this statement yesterday:

“The role of the County Council is to issue permits for utility companies to carry out works in a public highway.

This is a coordinating role to manage all of the different utility companies that want to maintain their apparatus, lay new services, or react to emergencies.

Under the New Roads and Street Works Act, a utility company has a legal right to maintain their equipment or to lay new services, and in the case of City Fibre the provision of faster broadband services to residents and businesses in the town.

In approving permit applications from utility companies, council officers have to be satisfied that the timeframes stated by utility companies are reasonable; that the safety of the public and the workforce can be maintained; where road and pavement closures are needed, that suitable diversions are put in place and adequately sign-posted; that the work is carried out safely; and that the reinstatement of the road, verge or pavement is to the appropriate quality.

“The law requires a utility company to reinstate a road, pavement or verge to the same condition they found it, and that means putting back paving slabs or replacing slabs that are damaged during the course of their works.

However, the law does allow a utility company to carry out temporary reinstatements and allows six months for a permanent reinstatement to be made.

So as long as it is safe, a utility company is allowed by law to backfill a trench excavation with a temporary material so long as he reinstates with a similar material ie coloured tarmac, paving slabs or brick pavers where that is the case, within six months.

The Council’s Network Management Team is aware of concerns about quality of reinstatement and about the way some of these works are being carried out and are in dialogue with the utility company concerned. If residents have any concerns about utility company workings or quality of reinstatement they can contact East Sussex Highways by email: customer@eastsussexhighways.com or by telephone: 03456080193.”

Colin continued “I am very grateful for this statement from our Highways guys for making it very clear what we can expect when all the work is finished.

“I also understand the need for the upgrading of our nation’s utilities, but, did not expect the anguish and turmoil it would cause in our streets.

So bear with us and if you have a problem in Ratton either contact Highways above or please still feel free to contact me.

“I can’t wait to see this finished,” he said.