Published:
October 14, 2016
Dozens of phone boxes in Burnham-On-Sea area to be removed by BT

Scores of iconic phone boxes look set to be removed in the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge area due to a lack of use, it's been confirmed this week.

44 of the lowest-used payphones across Sedgemoor have been earmarked for removal by British Telecom as part of a cost-cutting move.

Among those earmarked for removal are one in Church Street, Mark which was used just once in 12 months, while one in East Huntspill was used only six times in a year.

The others are in Berrow Road, Burnham-On-Sea, which was used 94 times during the past year, while another in Rosewood Avenue was used 54 times, and another in Burnham Road was used 75 times.

A phone box outside Brent Knoll Post Office is also earmarked to go after being used 47 times during the past year.

Despite a decline in their numbers in recent years, the telephone box regularly tops national polls as one of Britain's most iconic structures.

"Under a 'Universal Service Obligation', BT is required to provide adequate coverage of public payphones," said a spokesman. "However, BT’s case for removal is that the needs of customers have changed drastically with the increase in mobile phone ownership leading to a complete change in the communications culture – with the overall use of payphones declining by over 90 per cent in the last decade."

"Furthermore, 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 either 3G or 4G coverage."

BT says consultation notices have been placed in all the local payphones in the Burnham-On-Sea area identified for removal, advising any interested parties to contact Sedgemoor District Council's Planning Department.

The deadline for comments about the proposals is no later than 5pm on Friday 4th November, 2016. Comments should be submitted electronically via email to development.management@sedgemoor.gov.uk

BT's consultation process also gives Parish Councils the opportunity to adopt a traditional red ‘heritage’ phone box and make them an asset that local people can enjoy. It costs just £1, subject to several conditions, as outlined here.

What's your view?
Should they be removed or are they still useful in emergencies? Get in contact with Burnham-On-Sea.com here to have your say.

 

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