A BUSINESS could be forced to miss out on a broadband upgrade after a project connecting rural communities hit a stumbling block.

Northumberland County Council, working with Openreach, has been delivering the iNorthumberland scheme to some of the county’s most remote communities.

So far, cable has been run from Corbridge to surrounding areas such as Aydon and Styford. The final part of this section would involve connecting premises on the other side of the A69, including Brocksbushes Farm – a farm shop, tea room and pick your own fruit business – and a small number of homes.

But Nick Oliver, county councillor for Corbridge, said the planned route for the cable, through a tunnel which vehicles use to pass under the A69 from Brocksbushes, had been rejected by Highways England.

The agency instead suggested that a small channel should be drilled under the A69 to connect the broadband, which would cost £32,000.

“The effect is that broadband won’t be able to get there,” said Coun. Oliver.

“We are not allowed to spend £32,000 connecting one business and a couple of houses.

“Brocksbushes is quite a large business and they are being hampered by Highways England. We owe it to the business to find a solution.”

A Highways England spokeswoman said the company was currently in talks with the council about the proposals to install the cable through the underpass on the A69.

“A technical assessment is required to determine if the cable would affect future inspection and maintenance work at this site and whether installing it could damage our structure.We are also considering what the potential cost of moving the cable would be as part of any future work.”