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Telecoms giant BT fined more than £3,000 after roadworks blunder

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Bishop's Green works forced pedestrians into oncoming traffic

Telecoms giant BT has been fined more than £3,000 by West Berkshire Council after it failed to build a temporary footpath, forcing pedestrians to walk out into oncoming traffic.

BT Open Reach was given approval by the council to carry out the works at Bishop’s Green in August last year and part of the conditions attached to the project was for the construction of a pedestrian footpath.

However, West Berkshire Magistrates Court heard on April 21 how workmen employed by BT to do the work between August 12 and August 25 instead put up a sign asking pedestrians to step into the road.

The court heard how on August 24 a member of the council visited the site to find that nobody was working there and a footpath allowing pedestrians to safely pass by had not been implemented.

Instead, a sign had been placed asking pedestrians to step on to Ecchinswell Road into the path of oncoming traffic.

Prosecuting, Sarah Clarke of West Berkshire Council’s legal services, said: “The purpose [of the condition] is so that street works are carried out in a safe way. Asking pedestrians to walk into the road presented a risk to pedestrians.”

Council spokesperson Martin Dunscombe said: “Bringing a prosecution is something we only consider as a last resort when all other options to resolve the problem have failed.

“In this case, we had spoken to BT with repeated requests for improvement at other sites which they failed to heed, so in this case we felt compelled to prosecute the company.

“The council works hard to ensure roadworks are done as quickly and safely as possible and I hope this reassures residents that we will not hesitate in prosecuting companies where they fail to adhere to the conditions of their work permits.”

Accepting a guilty plea, the firm was ordered to pay a total of £3,100, comprising a £1,000 fine, costs to West Berkshire Council of £2,000 and a £100 victim surcharge.

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