Decision details

BT consultation on phone box removal 2019

Decision Maker: Director of adults and communities

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

 

 To seek approval for 69 BT public call boxes in the county to be removed, adopted or be retained in full working order, in response to a formal consultation by BT.

 

There are currently 118 public payphones in Herefordshire. Herefordshire Council has received a listing from BT of 69 payphones in the county that it is proposing to permanently remove from service. BT has an obligation to consult with Herefordshire Council with regard to the proposed removals, as set out by Ofcom, with a 90-day consultation process.

 

Despite low use (several of the 69 payphones have had few or no calls in the last 12 months), for some communities and individuals, these payphones are still a vital or even sole means of telephone communication. The rurality of the county can mean unreliable mobile coverage in remote areas and in the absence of mobile access, or alternative communication, the payphone can still be essential in an emergency. In some communities the kiosks are an integral part of the landscape and adoption by the local community provides an opportunity to put the kiosks to practical alternative uses.

 

Decision:

That:

(a) the council object to the removal of 36 public call boxes in the county due to relevant factors e.g. need for emergency calls, poor mobile phone coverage as detailed in appendix 2; and

 

(b) the council agrees to the removal of 21 public call boxes in the county due to the low usage levels, availability of acceptable/good mobile coverage as well as lack of objections from local communities, as detailed in appendix 2; and

 

(c) the council supports the adoption of 12 public call boxes in the county by parish councils (or community groups) in order for those kiosks, once decommissioned, to be used for community benefit as detailed in appendix 2.

 

Alternative options considered:

 

1.         There are no alternative options which are practicable. It is the role of Herefordshire Council to consult locally and to make a decision based on the responses, as to whether the payphones can be removed, adopted or are retained. In accordance with section 49 of the Communications Act 2003 ('the Act'), Herefordshire Council is required to make a decision "in response to a proposal by British Telecommunications plc for the removal of public call boxes pursuant to Part 2 of the Schedule to a Direction published by Ofcom on 14 March 2006." More detail is set out in Appendix 1, BT notification letter and list of phone boxes affected.

 

Wards Affected: (All Wards);

Contact: Philippa Lydford, Local Resources and Assets Officer Email: plydford@herefordshire.gov.uk.

Publication date: 07/11/2019

Date of decision: 07/11/2019

Effective from: 14/11/2019

Accompanying Documents: