HOMES and businesses in a village near Ashbourne have been left without a telephone service after a road accident damaged a telegraph pole.
BT engineers have received 20 calls from people in Longcliffe who have been affected by the problem, which happened after a car and a van were involved in a collision in the village.
The accident, on Wednesday last week, affected the pole and three cables were cut by BT engineers at the request of the emergency services who attended the scene.
Although work is due to be carried out on fixing the cables tomorrow, businesses in the village say they have been adversely affected by the time it has taken to restore the services.
Samantha Bradley, a director at Longcliffe-based haulier David A Bradley Ltd, explained the problems experienced by her firm.
She said: “It’s been an absolute nightmare for us. The problem with haulage is, if customers can’t get hold of you they will quickly go off and try somewhere else.
“We’ve definitely lost business over this and it’s as if BT Openreach aren’t interested. I can’t put a price on how much it’s cost us.
“In the mean time I’ve had to go off and buy a pay-as-you go mobile phone and put £100 credit on it just to carry on running the business. I’m currently working from my kitchen table - BT have left me high and dry.
“It’s not just the businesses, there are elderly people living in this village and if they had a problem and don’t have a phone then I’d be very worried about what will happen.
“I’m shocked that, in this day and age there’s a massive company that apparently doesn’t give a hoot about you.”
Quarrying firm Longcliffe Ltd, one of the area’s biggest employers, said they too had suffered. Sales director Mick Barkley said the entire company had been working off just one phone line.
He said: “It has caused us problems, yes, but these things happen. We’re getting by with some good old British spirit.”
BT Openreach, the company responsible for maintaining the telephone network in the UK, said in a statement: “We have had a pole dislodged and three spans of aerial cable damaged in this incident.
“Because the cables were sagging over the road after the impact they had to be cut so it has not been possible to give any temporary service so far.
“We are due on site on Thursday to carry out works to replace the pole and run in three new sections of aerial cable.
“We are still exploring if there are any options for a temporary fix in the meantime.
“We would clearly like to apologise for any inconvenience caused while we’ve been working to get this repair carried out.”