BT has been fined more than £21,000 after the telecom company dug up a west London street – leaving a giant gaping hole in its wake.
The well-heeled residents of Kensington, the second most expensive borough in the capital, weren’t best too pleased by the trench in the middle of a footpath.
Council officials found the gap on October 5 last year, with BT workers assuring them it would be made safe for pedestrians walking along Campden Street.
Yet council workers found the gap – rubble and all – still there two hours later in the residential street just south of Notting Hill Gate tube station.
BT hadn’t to close the area with barriers, nor did they patch up the pavement or work with the Highway Authority, which manages roads.
The council had to rope in its own contractor to fix the problem and the ‘considerable harm’ it posed to the public.
For one, the council said, damaged concrete slabs had been left lying unevenly and, well, then there was the large hole in the middle of the pavement.
It presented ‘multiple trip hazards to the public’.
Taking the hole to court, councillors successfully argued that BT should be held accountable.
Westminster Magistrates Court charged BT with three offences under the New Roads and Street Works Act, landing the company a £15,000 fine.
A £2,000 victim surcharge plus Kensington and Chelsea Council’s legal costs of £4,449.80 were also thrown onto BT’s tab.
Councillor Cem Kemahli said: ‘Anyone who carries out works on our streets has a duty of care towards the public.
‘We are striving for a safer Kensington and Chelsea and if companies fail to meet their responsibilities, we will step in to keep the public safe.
‘This is a great result for our team who are working hard to educate and hold those responsible to account.”
A spokeswoman for Openreach, owned by BT, said: ‘We’re sorry that our partners didn’t meet our own high standards for street works on this occasion and we accept full responsibility.
‘We are working with our partners to avoid the same mistakes happening again.’
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