Glasgow & West Scotland

Pensioners' view blocked by broadband boxes

Donald and Rosemary Ferguson Image copyright
Image caption Donald and Rosemary Ferguson have been in a nine-month dispute with Virgin media

A group of pensioners are in dispute with Virgin Media after the firm installed broadband boxes in front of their homes in East Renfrewshire.

Donald, 88, and Rosemary Ferguson, 82, and their neighbour Betty McGrath, 83, claim the 5ft-tall boxes stop light from coming through their windows.

The cabinets were put in the street beside the Barrhead flats in January.

A Virgin Media spokeswoman said correct procedures were followed prior to installation.

Mrs Ferguson, who has lived at the address for seven years, said they were never informed the boxes would be placed directly outside their home.

She said: "This has really affected our homes.

"It completely blocks out any light from coming into the house, and we now have no outlook at all.

'We were never advised they were going to be put here, but apparently, that's because they don't need planning permission to put them up.

"We have been fighting this since January and have just hit a brick wall the whole way."

Image copyright
Image caption The couple say the boxes block the sunlight
Image copyright
Image caption Virgin Media installed the cabinets in January

The pensioners contacted local councillor Danny Devlin, who is demanding the boxes be relocated.

"Virgin Media are a law unto themselves," he said.

"They don't need planning permission but they would usually speak to the council about the installation of these boxes. However, in this case, they didn't.

However, Virgin Media said the council was notified prior to the cabinets being installed.

A spokeswoman said: "Virgin Media is currently expanding its network in the area to bring ultrafast broadband speeds to more homes and businesses.

"As we do so, we endeavour to minimise disruption and we apologise for any inconvenience to residents."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The flats prior to the installation of the boxes

A spokesman for East Renfrewshire Council said communication companies, including Virgin Media, do not require planning permission to install the boxes.

He said: "Planning permission is not required for these boxes, although we would expect them to be placed in suitable locations which have minimal impact on residents."

Mr Devlin said the firm should be made to go through the planning process with the council.

"As a gesture of common sense, I would expect Virgin to take the boxes down and give these pensioners back the view they had before," he said.

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