Bristol

Openreach removes pole put up in front of blue plaque

Blue plaque to Jessie Stephen in Bristol
Image caption The pole was installed on the corner of Elmdale Road in Bedminster, blocking a plaque for suffragette Jessie Stephen

A telephone pole erected right in front of a blue plaque on a house in Bristol has been removed by telecom engineers.

The pole was installed on the corner of Elmdale Road in Bedminster, blocking a plaque for suffragette Jessie Stephen.

It was quickly removed by OpenReach on Wednesday after a local journalist alerted the firm to its error.

Kim Mears, from Openreach, said: "We've got over four million poles and this is really, really rare but when we get it wrong we get it really wrong."

Ms Stephen, who died in 1979 at the age of 86, was the first woman president of the Trades Council.

The councillor and trade unionist, who lived at a house on the corner of Elmdale Road, was also awarded an MBE for her services.

Image caption Ms Stephen, who died in 1979 at the age of 86, was the first woman president of the Trades Council

Openreach, which has been installing poles as part of its ultrafast broadband roll-out, said it had "never" had to remove a pole before for blocking a blue plaque.

"We got it wrong, we got it really wrong and we're truly sorry," said Ms Mears.

"I looked at this one - stood back and just said: 'How?' because if you just apply the common sense rule not only did they [engineers] get it wrong there was just no common sense involved."

She said the company had "dealt with it really quickly" after being alerted to the error by Bristol Live reporter, Tristan Cork.

"There was no way we wanted to be disrespectful to Jessie," she said.

"Obviously she's hugely important both as an individual and for Bristol so we made sure that we fixed it."

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