Residents are being urged to give their views on BTs plans to remove 29 public payphones.
BT has proposed to remove 29 payphones that they have identified as unnecessary across Central Bedfordshire.
As part of the process, we are required to undertake a public consultation and to inform BT of the results.
The consultation which runs until Friday 6 November 2020 will enable residents to comment on whether they agree or object to the proposals.
To make sure that the local community are fully informed, BT have placed consultation notices on these payphones and we are asking the community their opinion.
You may remember that we conducted a similar consultation for BT at the beginning of this year. The new consultation includes 28 phone boxes that were consulted on in January 2020 and one addition, which is the payphone in Vimy Road, in Leighton Buzzard. We received 86 responses in January 2020 regarding BT’s proposals to remove these public payphones.
Based on the responses received during the January 2020 consultation, our Executive decided the 28 payphones should remain and based on recent feedback received from Leighton Linslade Town Council relating to the phone box on Vimy road, we are proposing to object to all 29 payphones being removed.
The consultation indicated that there was general support for retaining the boxes in villages – either as payphones or adopting them for community use. There were a handful of suggestions that the payphones could be used by the community as small lending libraries.
Some of objections were about the lack of mobile signal in the villages, and the need for payphones in the case of network outages. Some communities lodged concerns that removing the payphones will have more of an impact on the elderly and disabled.
A further month will now be given for local people to have their say ahead of a final view being requested in December from our Executive, who will be asked to consider and agree a response to BT. A final decision notice will then be published on our website which will outline the position on the proposed removals.
You’ll find more information – including a list of the public payphones proposed to be removed on our website.