MP answers residents’ SOS

Steve Barclay with Tydd St Giles residents.
Steve Barclay with Tydd St Giles residents.

MP Steve Barclay has branded BT’s response to a landline fault in Tydd St Giles as “unacceptable” after some villagers were left without a line for weeks.

Among those affected was an elderly woman without a mobile phone who was isolated for three weeks after her landline stopped working, despite her son and even the parish council calling BT every day.

The problem was tracked to an underground fault with old cabling and all the phones are now in operation again, but villagers are complaining about the time it took.

People were with different providers but ultimately BT were responsible for fixing the fault.

Jane Melloy was one of those affected and had no phone line for 11 days. She racked up £29 in mobile phone charges calling expensive call centres to try to get it sorted out.

Mrs Melloy has been able to claim back her charges but said many people will not bother because it is so difficult.

She said: “It took an unacceptable length of time to get the fault fixed. A phone is vital. We have no phone box and rely on mobiles. Some people were totally isolated.”

Mr Barclay was equally disgusted with the way the residents were treated.

“What was particularly concerning was the constituents in their eighties and nineties who subscribe to Lifeline who had been left isolated and unable to raise the alarm,” he said. “This is clearly unacceptable.

“BT’s response failed to grasp the seriousness of the situation for these residents. They gave appalling customer service, with people being passed from pillar to post.”

Mrs Melloy had contacted Mr Barclay in desperation after failing to get a response and just hours after he got in touch, four Openreach vans were in the village.

A spokesperson from BT said: “BT’s local network company Openreach carried out investigations following these latest faults and highlighted a section of the network which was causing the problems experienced in this area.

“We then carried out the excavations and connection works necessary to replace a section of 75 metres of underground cabling to clear the faults and restore service to those affected.

“We would of course wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused during this period. We would advise people affected to contact their respective service providers to discuss any remaining service issues and compensation.”