Women fear 30ft ‘stinky’ pole will affect the value of £325,000 homes

Residents on a quiet street have reacted with fury after a telecom company installed a 30-foot (9 m) high “stinky” pole in front of their homes. 29-year-old Sophie Johnson was shocked to learn that OpenReach had installed a giant mast next to her home after returning from work yesterday (June 21).

She said residents of Link Road, Oldham, Greater Manchester, first became aware of plans to install the beams two months ago, when a notice appeared on a nearby lamppost. And although six families raised objections, they claim they received no response from the company before proceeding without warning.

Those living closest to the mast – which the company says will bolster local broadband speeds – now fear it will affect the values ​​of their £325,000 homes. And what’s worse, Sophie said the pole is encased in a black tar-like substance that “absolutely breaks down” and pops into her house when she opens her windows.

She said: “It stinks. It smells absolutely bad. It has a weird smell – and it’s terrible. You can smell it in my house when I’ve opened the windows.”

“It’s like tar, but a little more Fowler than that, and they painted it on this pole.”

His neighbor, 55-year-old Julia Withall, said: “It’s ruined the view now. We’ve spent so much putting up extensions, and now there’s a pillar in every window.”

“We just put the value of our house at £325,000. But I think if anyone comes right now to see it they will be kicked off the pole. I will be kicked out of it.”

Sophie, who works as a procurement administrator at a construction firm, said a few months ago the poll plan was jointly objected to by locals. She said: “A note appeared on a lamppost about the placement of this pole, and I and in the surrounding houses where the pole was to be held, we all objected to Open Reach.

“We were expecting another letter to come back saying you could do a consultation or something, but the next thing I knew, I came home and found it was kept.”

Sophie said the poll had ruined the front view of the famed beauty site Heartshead Pike Hill, and she was concerned about how it might affect home prices in the future. She said: “I’m worried about Price because previously we had a beautiful view of the hills and Heartshead Pike and now that’s blocked by this pole that’s been dropped there.

“Everyone on the street takes care of their garden and helps with the general upkeep of the place, and then you’ve got that.”

Neighbors fear the pole could affect house prices on the road as it blocks views of the surrounding hill
(Image: Matthew Löfhouse / SWNS)

Her neighbor Julia, who recently completed an extension to her property, shared her fears about the pole lowering their home values. He said: “It is right in front of our house, and every window in front of our house is a pillar in front of it.

“We have a sitting room upstairs — sort of a snug one — and we have a skylight there, and you can even see it through the skylight.”

“I would not buy a house under the pylon or anywhere near the pylon.”

She continued: “I’d like them to have it now. There should be more places they can put it – not right in front of someone’s house!”

What does openreach say

A spokesman for OpenReach said the mast was installed as part of an upgrade to broadband services in the local area and claimed it was “legally sited”.

He added: “We are building a new, full-fiber network in Oldham to give residents access to gigabit-enabled broadband. This ultra-fast, ultra-reliable technology will bring enormous benefits to local families and businesses – and local will boost the economy.

“The new network already passes over 10,000 Oldham homes and businesses, who can now order some of the UK’s fastest, most reliable broadband from their chosen provider, and work on the ground continues.

“Wherever we can, we use our existing duct-and-pole network to avoid digging and disruption. But for some assets to be included in the upgrade, we may need to do roadwork or install new poles.

“We strive to sensitively select and site our infrastructure, balancing this with the need to meet local broadband demand.

“Poles must be in the right place to provide Internet, TV and other services to properties, avoid other underground services such as gas and water pipes and drainage, and on sidewalks for pedestrians, cyclists and prams.” The space left must meet the rules.

“All network providers follow a statutory procedure for setting up telecom infrastructure on public land. We give 28 days notice to local authorities prior to poll installation and contact them if they have any concerns about planned installations.

“The correct process was followed for the construction of this pole, and it is legally placed on a public highway.”

What does the local council say

A spokesman for Oldham Council also confirmed that under current rules, the Pole does not require any planning permission. He said: “This poll is a permitted development, meaning Openreach did not require planning permission or consent from us as a local authority to erect it.

“However, we have communicated it publicly through our public access system. While we appreciate the concerns raised by local residents on this matter, we would advise them to contact Openreach directly.”

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