Tuesday, 29 September 2020 07:31

Consultations on iconic phone boxes underway in Wiltshire Featured

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A public consultation is currently underway to determine the fate of 34 payphones around the county.

The phone boxes, owned by BT, have all been identified as being used and the telecommunications company has proposed to remove them following the consultation.

During the consultation period, people will be able to give their reasons for keeping the kiosks where they are.

BT have offered a list of potential reasons for keeping the payphones, including an area being vastly made up of privately rented or council housing, an area having poor mobile coverage or the area having a higher than average need for emergency services.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “As the local authority, we are required to carry out our own consultation process to canvas the views of the local community.

“Therefore, we are seeking the views of parish councils, Wiltshire councillors and other groups and organisations representing the community on the removal of these payphones.

“Please provide reasons for any objections to the removal of specific phones, as a blanket objection is unlikely to carry much weight.”

BT offers the opportunity for parish councils and registered charities to adopt a kiosk for just £1, thereby protecting the heritage of the community.

Pay phones in communities all across Wiltshire are on the list of low traffic kiosks, including six in the Chippenham area and seven in Warminster.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Council said: “The Adoption scheme has been successful in retaining BT payphone boxes.

“Transforming the kiosks as an asset to the community whilst preserving the heritage of the red kiosks, particularly in Conservation Areas.

“In Wiltshire, examples include the housing of defibrillators (where there is explicit council funding) to libraries.

“Under previous rounds of BT payphone reviews, our records indicate that 36 communities have adopted and bought their payphone boxes since 2014.

“The current round of 34 boxes (consultation period has not yet closed) indicate that there are four parishes who have expressed a wish to adopt their boxes.”

The consultation will close on 28 October 2020, and interested parties are asked to return comments by 14 October 2020.

Read this article on the Gazette and Herald here...

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