A ‘hole’ lot of trouble over BT’s big trench

Will Ash with Eric - in the hole
Will Ash with Eric - in the hole

“Don’t dig there, dig it elsewhere - the shape of it’s wrong, it’s much too long and you can’t put hole where a hole don’t belong!”

The lyrics to ‘Hole in the Ground’ were immortalised by Bernard Cribbins but they are horribly familiar to the Ash family from Wood End, Chailey, who have been living with a BT hole in the ground for more than five months.

Tony Ash said: “We had become so used to it that we started having little parties to celebrate monthly anniversaries and whenever people asked directions to the house we just said: ‘Look for the hole’.

“It was getting worrying when we recently ‘celebrated’ its five-month anniversary.

“As fond as we have become of our hole, we do keep having to pull passers-by out of it!”

Tony’s son Will, 15, posed for this picture in the hole with the family’s ageing West Highland Terrier, Eric, who could have done himself a mischief if he had fallen into it.

Tony explained: “The hole was dug after our builders accidentally damaged a neighbour’s broadband line back in October.

“BT came to fix it and dug the hole during the first week of November. The line was repaired immediately and our builders settled the bill months ago.”

BT did respond after the Ash family contacted them on three separate occasions to ask when the trench would be filled but Tony said: “They told us the hole was not their responsibility and referred us to ‘Openreach’ [superfast fibre broadband], which is wholly owned by BT!”

Seeing the family’s exasperation, the Middy stepped in to help and contacted BT last week.

A spokesman expressed surprise that the hole was nearing its sixth-month anniversary and engineers were despatched to fill it in last Wednesday.

The BT spokesman said: “We apologise to residents for the delay in completing the works in Wood End. We hope this repair resolves the situation and are grateful to Tony Ash, for bringing this to our attention.”

Tony was out of the country on business and missed the moment the hole disappeared under shovel fulls of earth but he told us: “What a relief to get it resolved!” He said the hole had become an eyesore in an area of the Common already “littered” with signs and bollards.