Red telephone boxes face axe in BT shake-up

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- Credit: Archant

Dozens of red telephone boxes could disappear from North Somerset’s streets under proposals put forward by BT.

The telecoms giant wants to close 37 public telephone units across the district and it has told North Somerset Council it believes they are no longer needed.

The use of payphones has dropped by more than 90 per cent over the past decade, with mobile phones increasingly prevalent and improvements to 3G and 4G internet coverage benefitting large parts of the country.

BT has therefore been consulting with North Somerset, town and parish councils to see whether communities would be adversely affected if the payphones were removed. It is also offering councils the chance to adopt units if they wish.

In its letter to councils, BT said: “This consultation process gives your local communities the opportunity to adopt a traditional red heritage phone box and make them an asset that local people can enjoy.


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“It’s really simple to do and costs just £1.”

Two of the proposed telephone boxes BT wishes to scrap are in Portishead – one in Link Road and the other in Mendip Road.

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However, Portishead Town Council voted in favour of retaining the latter after statistics showed it had been used more than 150 times in the past year.

Cllr Peter Burden, while surprised the payphone was so widely used, said it showed the need to keep the unit there.

He said: “The high usage surprised us, but it shows it’s still valued.”

Do you think payphones should remain in North Somerset? Let us know your thoughts in our online poll or by sending in a letter to the Times.

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