Fears over broadband box

Members of Alnwick Civic Society who are concerned about the new green box.
Members of Alnwick Civic Society who are concerned about the new green box.
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Serious concerns have been raised by a conservation group over the proposed siting of an internet box in a historic market town.

Alnwick Civic Society has slammed BT for planning to install a new fibre cabinet near to The Fleece Inn, in eye-shot of the 15th-century Bondgate Tower.

Members of Alnwick Civic Society who are concerned about the new green box.

Members of Alnwick Civic Society who are concerned about the new green box.

The group says the unit, which will help provide the town with superfast broadband, will be larger than the one currently there.

Members say it will be intrusive, be a road-safety hazard and spoil the visitor experience.

While the Society acknowledges and welcomes the need for better broadband in the area, it claims that another location or design should be found.

Chairman Peter Ennor said: “We want the best possible broadband and we want it as quickly as possible.

“But this is a highly-visible position on the approach to the Bondgate Tower. The proposed cabinet is very bulky and a potential hazard for pedestrians crossing the street. We are convinced that BT engineers could find a better location, or choose a more appropriate design.”

The Society says there should be a balance between the momentum of broadband rollout and the effect it has on an area and its residents.

Planning permission is not usually required for a box, unless it is in a national park, conservation area or other areas of special interest. The unit, on Bondgate Without, was permitted by council officers this month.

The Society believes each installation should be considered on its merits and the proposed box is an example of where a better balance could be found.

Mr Ennor said: “For many visitors this is their first view of the town centre and entrance to an important shopping street.

“A large green box adds to the general clutter at the junction, giving a poor impression of the town. This crossing is already difficult for drivers to negotiate and one of the busiest unprotected pedestrian routes into the town.

“This box could prevent a driver from seeing a child who is about to step into the road and may make it difficult for children to appreciate traffic risks.”