Call to cull pay phones

BT
BT

Do we still need public payphones or does mobile technology mean they have had their day?

This is the question that people are being invited to answer, following BT’s announcement that it’s proposing to remove 80 of the remaining 120 public payphones across Central Bedfordshire that are no longer regularly used.

Central Bedfordshire Council will be co-ordinating the official response to BT, following a public consultation that’s running until Thursday, December 15.

The consultation is for residents to comment on the council’s first decision on whether it agrees or objects to the removal of each of the 80 phone boxes identified by BT as no longer necessary.

The council points out that overall, the use of public 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.

At least 98 per cent of the UK now has either 3G or 4G coverage, which makes it possible to call the emergency services even when there is no credit or coverage from your own network provider.

Cllr Richard Wenham, Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said: “We want to make sure that none of our vital public payphones are removed and, by following Ofcom’s rules and through consultation, the council can use its powers of local veto to protect essential services.”

Have your say in the public consultation at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations.

The proposed cuts and number of calls made in past year:

High Street, Arlesey (32) House Lane, Arlesey, (0) Lynton Avenue, High Street, Arlesey, (4) Shortmead Street, Biggleswade, (0) Biggleswade LondonRoad/Kitelands Road, Biggleswade, (0) Park View, Station Road, Blunham (0) Cross Roads, Stockbridge Road, Clifton, (0) Clifton High Street, Gravenhurst,(2) New Town, Henlow, (3) Station Road Prospect Road, Langford, (1) East Road, Langford, (0)Station Road, Cambridge Road, Langford, (1) Campton Road, Meppershall, (4) Hitchin Road, Upper Caldecote, (2) Sand Lane, Northill (0) King Street, Potton, (0) Church Path, London Road, Sandy, (11) O/S Village Hall, High Road, Shillington, (0) Shillington Road, Pirton, (2) The Avenue, Stotfold, )0) Jcn Kingsway Trinity Road, Stotfold, (0) Nr Rec Ground, Hitchin Road, Stotfold, (0) Sutton Cross Roads, Biggleswade Road, Sutton, (0) Outside Sub PO, PCO Sutton, Sandy, (0) Cockayne Hatley, Sandy, 0 O/S Exchange, Potton Road, Wrestlingworth, (1)