AN office manager has said it is "unacceptable" that up to 20 Stourport businesses will be without internet access or phone lines for three weeks after an accident damaged a BT hub.

Claire Tidman, of Polyplas Extrusions, said businesses on Wilden Lane Industrial Estate have been told work to repair the hub, which was damaged on Monday, January 13, will not take place until Tuesday, February 4.

A car crashed into a cabinet containing BT Openreach network cables on Wilden Lane leaving 15 to 20 businesses on the estate with varying degrees of internet access, phone lines or use of fax machines.

Polyplas Extrusions has no communications access at all and staff are relying on mobile phones to answer enquiries and take orders.

Businesses have their own telephone and internet providers but all are connected to the local network through BT Openreach.

Ms Tidman has criticised BT's lack of urgency as she she said it is a sizeable trading estate and it is businesses that are suffering and not residential properties.

She said: "There's been no Openreach engineers near it. It's just frustrating. It's making our jobs very time consuming. With BT being the size that they are, three weeks and two days is an unacceptable time to wait.

"Most of our communications are online. We receive orders by email or by fax and we take telephone inquiries.

"They are diverted to a mobile but we can't cope with one or two phones. It's just causing disruption to the whole company.

"We're doing the best we can but the customers still want their goods at the end of the day.

"We rang our insurance to see if we'd be covered for anything but we have to prove our loss. We can't prove that we've lost a telephone call that would have been a £20,000 order."

A BT spokeswoman said: "Openreach – who look after the local network on behalf of all service providers – need to build a new street-side cabinet following this accident.

"It is extremely regrettable when Openreach suffers any damage to its network. Every effort is made to undertake any repairs as quickly as possible, which is what engineers are doing in this case."

She added that the work was currently being planned and businesses will be updated as soon as possible.