RESIDENTS are fighting on The Beeches against a fibre broadband company by parking cars on pavements to block work.

Nineteen households in Ryall, near Upton, are stopping Airband from putting in five-metre telegraph poles and cables, which do not need planning permission, on their section of the cul-de-sac called The Beeches.

The residents, with many living in bungalows, have all signed a petition against the plan to improve internet coverage, calling for the firm to instead connect to properties via existing underground service ducts.

Retired salesman Malcolm Brown, 73, said: "In a small residential area this will look a mess.

"As soon as they started putting poles up on the main run of The Beeches, a number of the residents in this close parked their cars on the pavement where poles were going to be fitted. In effect, we have stopped them putting poles up.

"We have no street lighting. By putting poles in the pavements they are making a hazard for the elderly and anyone of limited eyesight.

"The majority of the people here are of pensionable age and we have an elderly people's home just around the corner.

"At first this sounded a good idea but the residents soon found out that the FTTP (fibre to the premises) would come via a series of poles and cables despite the fact that a cable was already running along the pavement in front of our homes. Airband could simply trench from the pavement to our homes.

"We feel it's a bad policy that they are trying to persuade us to go with and we don't want it, thank you Airband."

County and district councillor for the area Martin Allen said: "I don't feel Airband has worked closely with councillors or residents so far.

"It was not made clear that poles were going to be put into an area predominantly full of bungalows, totally changing the street scene.

"I hope Airband will work with Ripple Parish Council to find a satisfactory resolution for both parties."

An Airband spokesperson said: “We will always aim to cause the minimum amount of disruption when installing superfast broadband to communities.

"We have written to the residents impacted by the installation and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

"We’d like to reassure residents that, as part of the strategic assessment process for any installation, we look at all possible ways to bring the best product to communities which balances disruption and quality.

"As part of this, we looked into using accessible ducts to carry out the works but sadly this was not a viable option for these properties.

"We work closely with the local councils and carefully consider where poles must be installed and we do not add them unless necessary.”