FRUSTRATIONS continue to grow in the Skelsmergh area as residents face at least another week without internet or landline telephone.

Connections for around 30 people in the area of Garth Row Lane were lost on Thursday, September 19 after a car was in collision with a telegraph pole.

Local resident John Chapman said: “We’re actually unable for the period of this downtime, to participate in the 21st century - we’re cut off.”

The car involved in the incident caught fire, to the extent that crews who attended the scene were unable to establish the make of the vehicle.

A spokesman for Cumbria Fire and Rescue said its driver was not present at the scene for the duration that crews were there, while a police spokeswoman said inquiries into the registered keeper of the vehicle were ongoing.

Landline connection in the area is provided by Openreach, a subsidiary of BT.

On Tuesday (September 24), a spokeswoman for Openreach said: “We expect the repairs to take up to a fortnight to complete, as a new pole and aerial cable run are required, plus civils to get the pole in place.

“We may also need traffic management to complete some of the work safely.”

Mr Chapman, who is chair of Skelsmergh and Scalthwaiterigg Parish Council, said: “They have made no effort to come round and tell people what is happening and what is going to happen.

“We’ve had to rely on stepping out to speak to our neighbours, and essentially relying on local gossip to find out what’s going on.”

Michael Venet is another resident who has lost his internet and landline telephone.

Mr Venet, a retired teacher who still does some work on a voluntary basis, wanted to download his lesson plan on Monday, but was unable to do it.

He said: “It’s strange because you can’t get the weather, you can’t get the news in the normal way - it makes we realise how internet dependent we’ve become.”

Both Mr Venet and Mr Chapman are looking forward to the introduction of B4RN (Broadband for the Rural North). B4RN is a company providing fibre optic broadband to more remote areas without the need for overhead copper landlines.

Mr Chapman said: “The option offered by B4RN was a very attractive one, and I don’t think I’m exceeding my authority to say that pretty well the majority of people in this area have signed up.”