Police Called in After Land Boundary Dispute Over BT Street Cabinet - ISPreview UK
An odd situation has erupted in Norfolk (England) after the 85-year-old owner of a bungalow on Framingham Earl Road (Yelverton) hampered Openreach’s (BT) efforts to conduct maintenance and upgrade work on their PCP Street Cabinet. The pensioner claims the cabinet is built on his private land, but the local authority says it’s public land.

It’s easy to see from the picture that resolving this one might not be a simple matter. For a start there is no physical boundary, such as a fence, and older Land Registry documents don’t always clarify borders as accurately as they perhaps should (spoken from recent experience).

According to EDP24, the telephone cabinet has been in Mr Moreten’s garden since before 1998 when he purchased the property and back then he had no problems with it (perhaps he should have investigated further). However he began to object when Openreach engineers turned up to upgrade the cabinet and allegedly build a new cabinet nearby, which he claimed would harm the value of his home and create traffic problems.

Mr Moreten said:

“I go and stand in front of them and won’t let them work on it. They were trying to convince me my Land Registry documents were a load of rubbish. They’re not. They’ve been proved to be right to the inch.

After I stood there long enough to beat them they said they would be back in a few hours with more bodies. They tried to push through me but I stood there in the pouring rain and eventually I beat them.”
Apparently at one point the local police were even called in, although no further action is currently being taken. Mr Moreten was later offered £750 in return for agreeing to a new cabinet, but he declined and so the problems continue. Sadly the EDP24 article does not include a comment from Openreach, but we’ve managed to get one of our own.

An Openreach (BT) Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“Openreach has no plans to install a broadband cabinet at this location (the fibre broadband cabinet for this area was installed in 2014 in Drakes Lane). The original structure has been in place since 1972, and engineers need to access this when workloads require it. We understand that there is on-going consultation between Mr Moreton and Norfolk Highways, and we will assess the situation once the public boundary has been clearly defined.”
Often the final place to resolve complicated boundary disputes is through the courts, although it’s hoped that the council will be able to settle the dispute via an approach that doesn’t involve expensive legal fees. Mind you if the cabinet did end up being on Mr Moreton’s property then that may create new issues, such as in respect to wayleave agreements.

In the meantime ISPreview.co.uk understands that some of Openreach’s additional work on underground cable ducts in the area, which would allow more people to get connected, won’t be able to continue until the dispute is resolved.