Residents’ worry over BT box next to garden fence amid concerns it could give ‘intruders access to flat’

A resident of a Barnsley conservation zone says he is concerned for the security of his home, after a BT Openreach box was installed by his garden fence – giving potential intruders access to his flat roof and upstairs windows.
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Richard Harrison, who lives in a 17th Century converted barn in Carlton’s conservation zone has been in contact with Barnsley Council and Openreach about the box – which backs on to his fence and flat roof.

When investigating why a box had been installed so close to his wall and fence, he discovered that Openreach notified BMBC that they would place the box on Royston Lane, which is outside of the conservation area and around 100m from the address on the notification form.

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Openreach, however, dispute this claim, and state that the box is correctly sited.

The BT box.The BT box.
The BT box.

Although individual boxes do not require planning permission, they are subject to a general permitted development order, meaning a number of conditions should be met.

Openreach wrote to Barnsley Council to notify the authority of their intention to install the cabinet at Royston Lane which is outside the conservation area, on January 21, 2019.

However, the cabinet was installed in May 2019 on Church Street – within the conservation area.

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A spokesperson for Openreach told the local democracy reporting service that they have no plans to move the cabinet, and that they correctly sited the apparatus.

The spokesperson said: “We’ve looked into Mr Harrison’s concerns extensively and are satisfied that the cabinet in question is correctly sited on public land and meets all planning regulations.

“No concerns have been raised by the Council and we have no plans to relocate the cabinet which provides vital superfast broadband services to multiple properties in the local area.

“We’ve also offered a solution to address Mr Harrison’s concerns about security risks to his property but the offer was declined.”

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Councillor Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “Openreach didn’t require permission to install the box outside of Mr Harrison’s property as it was installed within permitted development rules.

“As a result, we had no say over its location. Despite this, our teams worked with Openreach to see if anything could be done to reduce the risk. Openreach offered to put a sloped top on the box, but this offer was declined by Mr Harrison.”