A FAMILY say they are at their wits end after many months of sleepless nights – caused by a broken manhole cover.

The Rother family live next to the busy Launceston Road in Kelly Bray. It was around a year ago they say they first noticed banging as vehicles drove over a loose drain lid. The noise has been particularly aggravating at night, with cars and lorries continuing to use the A388 at all hours. 

Ben Rother says that the disturbance has been worst for his elderly parents, who have had to adopt a downstairs front room as their bedroom due to his mum’s poor health.

His dad, Robert, says: “It’s driving us up the wall, nothing’s being done. If it’s an artic going over it, it’s eight wheels. It’s murder. We’ve got quite a long garden and even at the bottom of the garden you can hear it. It’s night and day.”

After spending several months trying to find out where responsibility for the cover lay, Ben says he was “given the runaround” as Cornwall Council passed him to South West Water who then passed him on to BT and Openreach.

Eventually confirming that the manhole belonged to Openreach, Ben says he has since logged six complaints and that three different engineers have been out to assess the problem – and still, he says, nothing has been done.

“The second engineer told us that it would be fast tracked and told us to contact him after two weeks for an update. We rang the number he’d given and never got an answer.”

Around a month ago, Ben came home from work to find the road closed, and seeing Openreach workers at hand, he assumed that the cover was about to be repaired.

“We went out to offer them cups of tea but we were then told that they were there to lay cables. I asked if they had the drain cover on their list to do at the same time – they said no.

“I am now feeling really depressed and miserable with this,” he continues. “It’s affecting my parents’ health. My mum has COPD and heart trouble and my dad has health issues as well. A lack of sleep is not helping.”

Ben says that the whole situation is made more frustrating by the customer services chatbot which “either puts you through to a call centre abroad or errors out and kicks you off the app”.

An Openreach spokesperson said: “We’ve assessed the manhole cover at Kelly Bray and will have it repaired as soon as it is safe to do so.  We’d like to apologise for any inconvenience or disturbance caused.”