Councillor warns residents to check their mail as Virgin criticised over cable installations

Cumbernauld North councillor Barry McCulloch at Drove Hill in Balloch
Cumbernauld North councillor Barry McCulloch at Drove Hill in Balloch

Cumbernauld residents are being told to ensure they read any letters they receive from Virgin Media – as it may not be junk mail.

The communications giant are currently undertaking a widespread installation programme of high speed broadband cables.

This involves digging trenches that go through roads, pavements, grassed areas and in some case people’s driveways.

As Virgin are about to start work in an area they are writing to residents, telling them to make clear if they have any issue with their property being dug-up.

Unfortunately many people have assumed the letter is unsolicited advertising of virgin’s services and throwing the letter in the bin, only to find their driveway has been dug up days later.

Cumbernauld North councillor Barry McCulloch said: “I am urging everyone to ensure that if they get a letter from Virgin, they open it and read it. It might just be advertising, but it could be to tell you that cables are due to be installed in your street.

“I know of some residents who have contacted Virgin to tell them not to dig on their property, but other people have been surprised to find their driveways being dug up.”

Councillor McCulloch has received numerous complaints from residents in Balloch and Craigmarloch about the poor quality of remedial work once the cabling has been installed.

Among those who complained was Frances O’Brien of Lansdowne Drive.

She said: “After the cabling was installed we were left with a hole in our driveway covered by a sandbag, we were too scared to drive over it as we were worried if we damaged anything we’d be liable.

“Happily after we contacted Councillor McCulloch he spoke to the contractors and it has now been repaired properly.”

North Lanarkshire Council has issued defect notices to Virgin Media after Councillor McCulloch raised the issue of the poor remedial work at last week’s full council meeting.

A council spokesperson said: “A roads inspector has met with Councillor McCulloch regarding concerns about the condition of footways after the works by Virgin Media.

“We have advised the contractor of the defects and requested that remedial work is carried out.”

Virgin Media apologised to anyone affected and say they are working with contractors to ensure work is carried out to a higher standard.

A spokesperson said: “While we continue to expand our fibre broadband network to more homes across the country, we endeavour to minimise disruption for the local communities.

“In this case we have received one defect notice and we apologise to North Lanarkshire Council and the local residents affected by the streetworks carried out by contract partners on behalf of Virgin Media.

“We are working with our contractors to ensure that all work is carried out with professionalism and at the highest standard, and to safeguard against such mistakes in the future.”