On April 13th we constructed a big green box beside Bondgate Tower, to challenge BT to do better. The Gazette covered the story on 18th April.
We applaud efforts to deliver the best possible broadband to Alnwick. It will boost business; and the people of Alnwick will benefit from new forms of entertainment, education and employment opportunities. But they may also have to live with intrusive equipment that creates hazards for pedestrians, harms the quality of the town and spoils the visitor experience.
Planning law has been changed to speed broadband rollout, and cabinets can now be installed without council approval. We think this was a mistake. The effects on the neighbourhood ought to be considered. The large box proposed on Bondgate is one example where we think a better balance can be found.
For many visitors this is their first view of our town centre. It is the entrance to our main shopping street. The proposed box is 1.41 metres tall, and will add to the general clutter at this junction, which gives a poor impression of the town.
Even more importantly, this crossing is already difficult for drivers to negotiate, and one of the busiest unprotected pedestrian routes into the town. The proposed cabinet could prevent a driver from seeing a child who is about to step into the road, and make it difficult for children to appreciate the risk from traffic.
It was easy for us to take our cardboard box away again, but the real cabinet will last for decades. Telecommunications companies are not responsible for the quality of our town. It is the people of Alnwick who must live with the effects of ill-considered installations; and face the disruption, and pick up the cost of fixing any problems. Their voice should be heard. If enough speak out then engineers will surely be able to find a better location, or chose a more appropriate design - making this important junction safer, easier for drivers to negotiate, and more attractive.