Residents in Brunel Walk in the centre of a major redevelopment area can at last get broadband after a welcome intervention from Stockton Borough Council’s Chief Executive, Neil Schneider.
Despite living in brand new houses, the residents were unable to get the service because no-one installed the infrastructure to reach their homes at the time the houses were constructed. They then found themselves stuck between the developer, Virgin Media and the Council. Now, after sustained pressure from Stockton North’s Member of Parliament, a decision has been taken to ensure the residents can have the superfast broadband they want.
Under Section 38 of the 1980 Highways Act, Stockton Borough Council adopts land from private developers only once all work has been completed to the necessary standard. This includes the full reinstatement of footpaths. Reluctance by the developer and service provider to commit to reinstating the completed footpath in Brunel Walk after inserting the pipe work resulted in a prolonged stalemate.
Keepmoat Homes, the developer responsible for Brunel Walk, insisted that Virgin Media should bear the cost of these works following the laying of the necessary cables. Virgin Media, however, declined to commit on grounds of cost, leaving residents of Brunel Walk without access to superfast broadband. Now the Council has confirmed that they are willing to make an exception to their policy and will adopt the footway on Brunel Walk with a trench in order to break the deadlock and alleviate the issue for residents.
“After speaking to each of the parties involved in this ridiculous scenario, I was delighted to hear confirmation from Neil Schneider, Chief Executive of Stockton Borough Council that they are willing to commit to bringing this sorry saga to an end by making an exception to their policy for adopting footways from private developers.
“I will continue to press both KeepMoat and Virgin to ensure that they match the commitment from the Council to remedy the situation and to allow superfast broadband services to be provided to residents on Brunel Walk as soon as possible.
“Whilst I acknowledge the difficulties in making provisions to deliver broadband services through the planning process, as councils cannot apply conditions which would effectively apply to organisations that provide these services, I was pleased to hear that Stockton Borough Council is drafting a telecommunications infrastructure policy that will ensure that everything possible is done at the planning application stage to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again and developers do the right thing.”