Mel Fordham (centre) with Father Paul Broadbent and Paul Mahony at the Fairwarp phones protest meeting

Phones go haywire in disconnections misery

Phone connections in a community on the outskirts of Uckfield have gone totally awry with people’s calls ringing in another property altogether; sometimes miles away.

“The problem is that when you ring our number, it rings somewhere else,” a resident told

Some homes in the Fairwarp and Cackle Street area have been disconnected for seven weeks leaving residents isolated and vulnerable, especially as mobile phone signals are weak.

Reconnections have been made in some cases. In some instances those people have been disconnected again while others have found their number rings at another property on the Ashdown Forest or in Crowborough.

More than 20 people met last night (January 27) at the Foresters Arms, Fairwarp, to plan a campaign to get reconnected and to eventually seek compensation from the company responsible for the phone lines, BT Openreach.

Plan of action agreed

Action to be taken by the protest group includes a deputation going to BT HQ in London, writing to the chief executive of BT, asking MP Charles Hendry to intervene and requesting the regulator, Ofcom, to take action.

Other ideas were to take to social media to criticise the company.

Mel Fordham, who led the meeting, said it seemed as if things started to go wrong from December 12.

BT Openreach had given different deadlines as to when the service would resume, Mr Fordham said, adding: “We are getting different stories. We keep getting terribly mixed messages. You feel totally cut off.”

Other speakers highlighted loss of business, the cost of using mobile phones, an elderly person whose emergency care line was disconnected and a case where a family could not dial 999.

Paul Mahony told the meeting he had been to Nutley to speak to an engineer working at the telephone exchange.

He discovered his property was not “on the list” for getting work done but the engineer added it. He advised others to take similar action.

Parish priest, Father Paul Broadbent, told the meeting: “You don’t pay for a service you have not had and then you want compensation.”

Residents were further angered when they discovered a BT spokesman had told a regional BBC reporters that only two people remained to be reconnected. There were at least seven people at the meeting who were still disconnected.

See also:

Superhero scarecrows coming to Uckfield

New Luxford car park limits revealed

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