Ashford Borough Council have received notice that the payphones at Victoria Park and Christchurch are among eight further payphones that BT intend to remove.
There is an opportunity for a local community group to adopt the payphones. BT would like to hear the view of the community on the proposal.
Please comment on this post – we will feed your comments back to ABC.
BT’s letter to ABC says:
Dear Chief Planning Officer,
We’re continually reviewing the demand for our payphones and we’ve identified 8 public payphones in your area that aren’t being used enough. We’re proposing to remove them under the 90 day consultation process. The list of payphones is attached.
To make sure that the local community are fully informed, we’ve placed consultation notices [including the posting date] on these payphones. A sample notice is attached.
Why do we want to remove payphones?
Overall use of payphones has declined by over 90 per cent in the last decade and the need to provide payphones for use in emergency situations is diminishing all the time, with at least 98 per cent of the UK having mobile coverage. This Is important because as long as there is mobile network coverage, it’s possible to call the emergency services, even when there is no
coverage from your own mobile network provider.
Also, Ofcom’s affordability report found that most people no longer view payphones as essential for consumers in most circumstances.
How can a community keep a red phone box?
This is a great opportunity for local communities, councils and charities, to adopt their red phone box and make it an asset for everyone to enjoy. People across the country are using them for everything from defibrillators to foodbanks. It ‘ s really simple to do and costs just £1 – http://bt.com/adopt
What we’re asking you to do
We’d welcome your feedback on whether the payphones are still needed and we’d appreciate your help.
Ofcom’s statement following their 2005 review of universal service in the telecommunications market gives the responsibility to the local authority to consult with the local community on the removal of payphone service. They would normally expect these consultations to involve other public organisations such as parish or community councils and work within the terms of the Communications Act 2003.
What to do next
Please complete and return the attached annex with your decision on each payphone by email to email@example.com. Please retain proof that the email was sent or apply a read receipt.
Just select agree if you’re happy for us fo remove it.
If the local community wish to adopt, please provide their contact details and we’ll do the rest.
If you decide to object, you’ll need to complete the last column with your reasons. You must be able to objectively justify your decisions based upon telephony needs. Annex 1 in Otcom’s fullguidance about removing phone boxes states that BT’s Universal Service Obligation applies to the telephone, not the phone box. The guidance also details the appeals process we must follow for unreasonable objections. It would, for example, be inappropriate for a local authority to object to removal of a public call box because it is a local landmark or on ‘heritage’ grounds.
We’ll assume you have no objection to the removal of a payphone if information on the form is incomplete or an adoption does not proceed.
The full list of payphones that are proposed for removal are here