BT plans to remove 29 public pay-phones across Central Bedfordshire including this one in Cranfield

BT wishes to remove payphones in Cranfield, Lidlington and Ridgmont

Central Bedfordshire residents are once again being asked to give their views on BT’s plans to remove public payphones. BT has proposed to remove ‘unnecessary’ payphones in Cranfield, Lidlington and Ridgmont.

You may remember that Central Bedfordshire Council conducted a similar consultation for BT at the beginning of this year. This time the list includes 28 phone boxes that were consulted on in January 2020 and one additional payphone in Leighton Buzzard.

As part of the process, Central Bedfordshire Council is required to undertake a public consultation and to inform BT of the results. The consultation runs until Friday 6 November 2020 and enables residents to comment on whether they agree or object to the proposals.

BT has also placed consultation notices on the payphones. The table below shows the Stage One decisions (the number of calls made may be out of date)

Address No. of calls in last 12 months Agree  Object  Adopt

Recommended

1st Decision

 
Justification 

Telephone: 01234 750201

JNCT with Orchard Way
PCO1 high street
Cranfield
Bedford
MK43 0BT

0 0 5 1 Object Public consultation indicates an objection to payphone removal 

Telephone: 01525 280260

O/S Ate High St
PCO1 Eversholt Road
Ridgmont
Bedford
MK43 0TT

 
0 2 Object  Public consultation indicates an objection to payphone removal 

Telephone: 01525 404065

Brickworks PCO1
Marston Road
Lidlington
Bedford
MK43 0PP

2 7 1 Object Public consultation indicates an objection to payphone removal 

After the last consultation the council decided that the payphones show remain

Central Bedfordshire Council 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, Executive decided the 28 payphones should remain.

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 the Council’s Executive, who will be asked to consider and agree a response to BT.

A final decision notice will then be published on the Council’s website which will outline the position on the proposed removals. Cllr Richard Wenham, deputy leader and executive member for Corporate Resources, said:

“We have listened and reviewed all of the comments provided to us by those who responded to the January 2020 consultation including the public and town and parish councils.

“We have also been looking at a number of other factors including usage of the payphones in the last year and housing deprivation around where they are located.

“You may have seen details of this consultation posted on affected phone boxes within this area. We would like to ask for any further comments before we submit our final response to BT, which details whether we agree or object to the proposals for each payphone and the reasons why.”

If BT disagrees with any of the objections made by the council, it will ask to formally review those objections with the local authority and Ofcom will consider the decision on the proposed closure.

You’ll find more information – including a list of the public payphones proposed to be removed at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations.