Dozens of phone boxes to be axed as appeal is made for communities to adopt ‘heritage-style’ examples


- Credit: Nick Butcher

Telecoms giant BT is proposing to remove dozens of public phone boxes in Huntingdonshire, as the number of calls has dropped by more than 90 per cent in the last decade.

BT has applied for planning permission to remove 46 phone boxes located throughout the district, some of which have been inactive for an entire year.

In a letter to Huntingdonshire District Council setting out the plans, BT’s Rick Thompson, payphone planning manager, said: “Overall use of payphones has declined by more than 90 per cent in the last decade and the need to provide payphones for use in emergency situations is diminishing all the time, with at least 98 per cent of the UK having either 3G or 4G coverage.

“This is important because as long as there is network coverage, it’s now possible to call the emergency services, even when there is no credit or no coverage from your own mobile provider.”

BT said a consultation process had begun with residents of towns and villages affected by the plans, with responses invited until January 4, next year, when the consultation will close and a final decision will be made.

Mr Thompson added: “This consultation process gives your local communities the opportunity to adopt a traditional red ‘heritage’ phone box and make them an asset that local people can enjoy.”

Adopting a phone box costs communities just £1 and there have been several examples of groups stepping forward in Cambridgeshire to give their redundant phone boxes a new lease of life.

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In Prickwillow, in East Cambridgeshire, the phone box has become a pop-up art gallery, with new installations every month. In Little Thetford, also in East Cambs, the phone box was rescued by the parish council and served for a short time as a book exchange.

Phone boxes under consultation (calls made in last 12 months)

Queen’s Gardens, Eaton Socon (4)

Mill Hill Road, Eaton Ford (5)

Gordon Road, Little Paxton (7)

High Street, Great Paxton (0)

St Neots Road, Eaton Ford (0)

Veasey Road, Hartford (0)

Main Street, Hartford (0)

Mere Way, Wyton (0)

Holywell (1)

Ramsey Road, St Ives (0)

High Street, Fenstanton (0)

Headlands, Fenstanton (6)

London Road, St Ives (1)

Hill Estate, Houghton (0)

Hill Rise, St Ives (0)

High Street, Needingworth (7)

Huntingdon Road, Wyton (0)

The Causeway, Godmanchester (10)

Ermine Street, Huntingdon (1)

Ambury Road, Huntingdon (20)

High Street, Offord D’Arcy (1)

West Perry, Perry (0)

High Street, Offord Cluny (0)

Breach Road, Grafham (0)

The Highway, Great Staughton (0)

Newtown, Kimbolton (0)

Church Lane, Tilbrook (0)

Easton Road, Easton (0)

Royston Avenue, Spaldwick (14)

Hamerton Road, Alconbury (0)

High Street, Alconbury (0)

High Street, Bury (0)

Blenheim Road, Ramsey (0)

Park Road, Ramsey (0)

Fen Lane, Sawtry (0)

The Green, Sawtry (15)

The Green, Conington (4)

Green End Road, Sawtry (7)

Short Drove, Holme (5)

Warboys Road, Pidley (0)

Morborne Road, Folksworth (0)

Broadway, Farcet (0)

Dovecote Lane, Yaxley (0)

Oundle Road, Alwalton (2)

Herne Road, Ramsey (2)

Main Street, Old Weston (0)