Action to repair telephone lines in Westhead has now been secured after residents and the local primary school were left without telephone services since Boxing Day, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper can report.

In December the telephone exchange box on Ormond Avenue in Westhead was damaged by flooding.  Since then residents and the local primary school, Westhead Lathom St James C of E have been without a telephone service.

In early January the school was informed the damage to the system would require the road to be excavated.  This would need BT Openreach to secure a three-day clearance from Lancashire County Council as the highway authority.

By early February the situation had still not been resolved despite various assurances to fix the problem.  This left the school unable to contact parents by phone in an emergency or staff from calling into work.

Rosie raised the matter with BT and highlighted in a Parliamentary debate on the impact of flooding on the communications infrastructure in the North West on 9 February 2016.

Following the debate MP Rosie received correspondence from BT stating that the issue related to a blockage in underground cable, which has caused complications with the work to be completed by the 12 February.

Speaking about the incident, Rosie Cooper said:

“It is good news that the problem is now repaired.  Although I find it staggering that it has taken so long for the repair of the telephone systems in Westhead.

“This is another lesson from the recent floods that service providers and agencies need to learn.  When people rely on their telephone lines but for lifelines for older people, email services rely on the phone lines.  Being disconnected in 2016 for so long can have consequences.

“For the school who are charged with the safety and welfare of their pupils during school time not being able to make emergency calls via telephone to parents for a month and a half is not acceptable.

“If any residents are continuing to experience problems then I would encourage them to get in touch with me.”

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