LOCAL residents have until Sunday to respond to a consultation on BT’s proposals to remove numerous phone boxes across the South Hams.
Ofcom regulations state that South Hams Council have a responsibility to carry out a consultation with the local community on BT’s proposals.
The phone boxes are in Ford; Chivelstone; Laburnum Way, East Allington; The Mounts; Fore Street, Kingsbridge; Redford Way, Kingsbridge; Kingston; Loddiswell; California Cross; Onslow Road, Salcombe; Galmpton; South Milton; Kellaton; Chillington; Stokenham; Torcross; Beeson; Thurlestone and Stone Cottages, West Alvington.
In the consultation, a ‘reasonable need for a payphone’ is detailed as applying to all three of the following criteria: ‘it is the only payphone within 800 metres, the payphone was used at least 12 times in the last year and there are more than 500 households within one kilometre of the payphone.’
South Hams Council published a ‘draft decision’ for each payphone in early November, only consenting to the removal of four of the phones on the list: Redford Way, Kingsbridge; South Milton; Kellaton and Stone Cottages, West Alvington due to ‘low usage.’
Following the publication of the ‘draft decision,’ the council must allow one month for feedback from local communities before publishing a final decision.
Town and parish councils were consulted on the decisions, and in October, Kingsbridge Town Council resolved to ‘adopt the payphone kiosk in Fore Street and consider the adoption of the kiosk in Redford Way, subject to local consultation.’
In October, Salcombe Town Council noted that ‘the box in question was recorded as being used 35 times, was a longer distance from another pay phone and therefore all three removal criteria did not apply.’
Cllr Lindy Sinnott said that many people came into the Tourist Information Centre with no phone signal and it was difficult to find a telephone box that was functioning.
Stokenham Parish Council drew particular attention to the social need for the phone box in Chillington, citing it being used 16 times over the past 12 months, and the development of affordable homes in the area.