Plans to remove 30 public payphones across Central Bedfordshire

BT could remove 30 of the remaining public payphones across Central Bedfordshire, after it deemed them "unnecessary".

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 5:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 9:45 am

As part of this process, Central Bedfordshire Council has opened a public consultation to decide which of the at-risk payphones will be removed.

It also gives the communities the opportunity to adopt a traditional red heritage phone box.

Residents can decide how phone boxes are used, including to house defibrillators, art galleries and libraries.

Stock photo

BT revealed the use of public payphones has declined by more than 90 per cent in the last decade, and the need to provide them 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, deputy leader and executive member for corporate resources, said: “Public payphones have played an important role in our communities over the years, but with mobile technology being more widely used, better network coverage and changing customer habits there is a question over their continued value.

“However, we want to make sure that none of our vital public payphones are removed and the community have the opportunity to buy their local phone box, so I am encouraging everyone to have their say in the public consultation.”

The consultation will run until Tuesday, December 3.

You’ll find more information – including a list of the public payphones to be removed and links to Ofcom guidance online at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations.