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Brighton NIMBYs complain over BT broadband upgrades

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BT's broadband boxes have run into planning opposition again, this time from a group of conservation societies on the south coast.

Five societies have launched a campaign against the new "monster" street side cabinets the firm's Openreach division is installing in Brighton and Hove.

Their concerns echo a chorus of complaints that greeted the new boxes in Muswell Hill, north London. Local residents complained to planning officials about the new kit and succeeded in having 20 cabinets moved.

In a letter reported by The Argus, the Brighton conservationists criticised the planning process, which has already approved some cabinets.

"We are worried both about the lack of more general consultation and the impact that these monster cabinets could have, both within and outside conservation areas, if they are simply installed wherever Openreach finds most convenient,” they wrote.

Stephen Neiman, of The Regency Society, added: "There is no doubt we have to move with the times and that we need super-fast broadband, especially in a vibrant city like Brighton.

“Having said that, I'm not convinced the solution put forward by BT is the right and proper one. We are not saying no – we just want to be consulted.”

The new generation of street side cabinets are scheduled to cover two thirds of BT's national network by 2015. They are larger than the current generation mainly because they require power.

BT has said it will work with local authorities to minimise the visual impact of the cabinets. ®

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