A family home in the middle of Bolton, Manchester, has been entrenched and isolated by the unfortunate arrival of Virgin Media roadworks, which dug around the entrance to the home and completely cut it off from the road, imprisoning the family inside and trapping their car in the driveway.
David Henshall, the homeowner, says that he came back from work as normal to find that the contractors had barricaded his wife and daughter inside the house, digging a deep trench around the entire front and side of the property, then erecting fencing on either side of the trench to stop people falling into it, or, in this case, to further trap the inhabitants of the house inside and more successfully isolate it from the world.
The work is being carried out as part of Virgin Media’s superfast Project Lightning fibre optic broadband rollout, which aims to connect 17 million new properties to the Virign Media fiber optic network by 2017 – bringing the fastest broadband currently available in the UK to new customers all over the country. Unfortunately, this is small comfort to the Hanshall family, who are still marooned in their own home.
Emailing the pictures included in this article, Mr. Henshall got in touch with the CEO of Virgin Media himself, Tom Mockridge, to tell him what had happened and express his frustration and anger. Within an hour, Virgin had apologised for the inconvenience and promised to investigate what had happened, saying:
“Virgin Media expects only the best from any contractors we work with. We will discuss this matter with the contractors in question urgently and will seek a resolution to this issue promptly.”
Due to the house in question being a semi-detached family home, it is now completely surrounded by two layers of fencing, which sandwich a deep trench between them. If that sounds like some sort of siege fortification, that’s because it basically is – the family car is completely trapped, and the family can get around the works with some considerable trouble if they go on foot.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening Herald, Henshall said that he had been told by his wife that the contractors left at 2pm, havign thoroughly imprisoned his family, and didn’t come back, showing absolutely “zero regard” for the fact that the family car was stuck in the drive, and the house was now inaccessible. Leaving at 2pm, they abandoned a job that could otherwise have been finished that day, resulting in the family being trapped in what the media are referring as “Chez Alcatraz” and “The British Fort Knox”
Worryingly, the incident of fortifying an unwitting and unwilling home does not seem to be an isolated occurrance – the Virgin Media website has recently seen a number of complaints about inconsiderate trench-digging, including one form a woman who complained that workers had dug “straight across the driveway” trapping a car in and covering it in dust and rubble. Another tweeted “I’m trying to find out who I need to speak to about Virgin laying cables everywhere and destroying the roads, then running off having made a huge mess.”
Besides the original apology for the Bolton incident, Virgin Media has not responded.