It has been a most productive month. On several occasions we have had nine or ten volunteers helping which has allowed us to form several teams to carry out different tasks. We can do a phenomenal amount when we have so many helpers. We give hearty thanks to all who donate so much of their time for the common good, and this includes the many contributions of tea, cake and biscuits which are much appreciated when hard graft is being done. Service lines have been put to the school, church and public hall at Old Hutton. The work at the school had to be done during the holiday and the public hall will have an early live connection so that there can be a meeting to which everyone will be invited to try out the service they will receive. Several hamlets have are also nearing the completion of their service lines into their houses.
B4RN have now designated our huge project as a priority one. They have deployed up to three different contractors to carry out road crossings and to install duct. Some major difficulties have been overcome. They include the laying of ducts along the verge of the A65 from the Auction Mart to the canal, the crossing of the A65 to its northern side, and the laying of duct under the M6 at the Canal Garage. Before the end of August the B6254 will be crossed at the M6 bridge and duct will have been installed through Hutton Substation. Many more roads will need to be crossed before the project is finished. B4RN have pencilled in a major programme of fibre blowing in September. This will mean that homes and businesses will start to have live services from that date.
The progress we have made so far can be briefly summarised by the following figures:
- 425 homes and businesses have submitted expressions of interest (EOI, a request for a connection) to be connected. This is 81.3% of all the properties in the three parishes. (New Hutton – 90.5%, Old Hutton & Holmescales – 92.2%, and Preston Patrick – 81.3%). However, we still hear of residents who are expecting to get a connection but have not yet sent in an EOI. This can cause real problems. For instance, one house submitted one after the nearest house which is 0.4 miles away had been supplied; the duct to the later house will not now be laid until near the end of the project. We wish to repeat that it is very important that expressions of interest are submitted as soon as possible – see the contact details below. We wish to repeat that once the project has been finished, houses and businesses which have not been connected might incur greater cost and delay to install a B4RN connection.
- £357,950 has been invested in the project. Even if this turns out to be more than is needed, new investors will continue to benefit from the tax refund and interest rate, and the money will benefit other community projects. We continue to welcome new investments.
- Since the 13th May we have had 42 volunteers working in the field. They range in age from 13 to 79 and they have done 1,750 man-hours at the time of writing this report. This does not include the many hours spent in laying service lines, house fittings, administration, and general project management, such as visiting investors and landowners.
- In all we have to lay about 35 miles of duct along the routes of the trunks and spurs in the three parishes; this does not include the service lines to houses. We reckon we have done about 19.3 miles and still have 15.5 miles to do, mainly in New Hutton.