Consultation on Removal of BT Payphones in the Scottish Borders

image of british red phone box

Scottish Borders Council has told us that they received a letter from British Telecom (BT) setting out proposals to significantly reduce the number of payphones in the Scottish Borders.

Those located within Chirnside are:-
Main Street, East End, and Lammerview.

Please let us have any comments by 6th September so we can get them to Scottish Borders Council by the 13th September.

The criteria used by BT and agreed with its regulator Ofcom for making these proposals are, firstly the use of ‘over-riding criteria’ to identify boxes for retention in locations where this is:
• No mobile coverage (from any provider)
• A suicide hotspot
• An accident Blackspot
• A coastal location

Secondly, BT has then used ‘reasonable needs’ criteria which are:
• The public call box in questions is the only one within 800 metres
• There are 500 households within 1 kilometre of the payphone
• At least 12 calls have been made from the public payphone within the 12 months

BT’s view is that if a public call box meets any of the overriding criteria or all of the reasonable criteria it will not be proposed for removal.

We were able to save both the phone boxes and phones in Chirnside a number of years ago when we argued
that mobile phone coverage was patchy the resident at Lammerview were mainly elderly and did not have mobiles so we needed to keep the telephone for emergency cover. So BT took out the coin operated phone and put in a card operation phone only in both the telephone boxes in the village.

They are not cleaned or anything by BT. We commented the one at the Crosshill was need because the Community Centre was designated as the Emergency Centre for the village and we needed to have a operating telephone in the vicinity.

Could you let us have any comments by 6th September so we can get them to Scottish Borders Council by the 13th Sept to be included in an overall response to BT by SBC.

One Comment

  1. Submission on behalf of the CCGA re BT/SBC phone box consultation.
    Main Street Public Call Box
    The CCGA submits there are strategic, emergency resilience and social inclusion reasons to maintain the public call box located at Main Street (East End) Chirnside.
    This location is the effective transport hub for Chirnside as it is located near the bus stops for both Berwick and Duns/Galashiels, plus is used as a reference point for taxis and private hire vehicles collecting and dropping off passengers
    There are foreseeable events where young and /or vulnerable persons may need to contact a carer and they do not have access to a mobile phone for a wide variety of reasons. This is particularly relevant for the call box at Main Street
    The data supplied by SBC shows that the box is used, albeit only a small number of times per year, but at the retention level proposed by BT.
    The box is located close to sheltered housing where not all residents may have access to a mobile phone.
    Should there be a disruption to the mobile phone network then access to a landline will again be necessary as not all properties have a fixed landline, particularly where these are rented by the occupier.
    The box is located close to the village’s designated emergency centre, which does not have its own landline telephone. Access to a landline is essential, particularly in times of civil emergency such as extreme weather events, fire or other major disruption, when the mobile networks may be congested and overwhelmed.

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