Giant green box outrages Portchester homeowner

NO THANKS Martin Foulds with the box. Picture: Sarah Standing (1347-857)
NO THANKS Martin Foulds with the box. Picture: Sarah Standing (1347-857)
The countryside surrounding Harting Down in the South Downs National Park, in West Sussex.

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WHEN Martin Foulds returned from work, the last thing he expected to find was a giant five-foot BT box fixed in front of his house.

While he had been at work, BT had been busy digging up the pavement and installing a box. for its Openreach internet service.

Martin, 46, a chauffeur, bought the house on White Hart Lane in Portchester in April and was in the process of renovating it.

Next on his list of improvements was to turn his front garden into a parking space.

He applied to Hampshire Highways for a dropped kerb and was outraged when the council only agreed to move the box to make way for a driveway by charging £10,000.

If he waits any longer and BT connect the box up, this bill will rise to £25,000. Mr Foulds spoke to estate agents, who informed him that the value of his house has been hit because of the unsightly box.

Martin said: ‘I am just the tip of the iceberg. There will be other people affected by this.

‘It’s unfair. BT have stopped me having a parking space like every other house along this road

‘I understand that it will be a benefit to have faster internet in the area, but at what cost? We are the ones who have to pay for it.

‘They don’t give you any warning and just come along and plonk these horrible boxes outside your house. It’s outrageous. I feel persecuted.’

BT does not have to apply for planning permission to install the boxes and is not obliged to give nearby householders any notice of the work. However, it does give a month’s notice to the council. BT is installing around 52,000 boxes across the country over the next three years as part of an operation to provide faster broadband by 2015.

A statement from BT said: ‘Openreach has received Mr Foulds’ complaint. We are currently fully investigating the issues raised by him.’

Hampshire Highways are also investigating the matter and will be visiting Mr Foulds to assess the situation.

Mr Foulds said: ‘They couldn’t have picked a worse spot.

‘I want it to be moved. I understand it has to be near but there are plenty of better locations,. Even if they only move it three feet, that would be enough.’