Payphones face the axe amid falling use across Huntingdonshire

The phone box in East Chadley Lane, Godmanchester. Picture: ARCHANT

The phone box in East Chadley Lane, Godmanchester. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Seven public telephone boxes in Huntingdonshire are facing the axe - with BT blaming mobile phone availability for a 90 per cent drop in demand for traditional red payphones.

BT said there was also a continuing drop in demand for public call boxes to ring for help in emergencies because at least 98 per cent of the country had 3G or 4G coverage, meaning it was straightforward to call the emergency services from a mobile, even without credit or coverage from your own provider.

But communities affected by the closures are being given the chance to adopt a traditional red box for £1 so they can be turned into something "inspirational".

Consultations have begun on the proposed closures of the boxes at Hinchingbrooke Park Road, Huntingdon, Constable Road, St Ives, High Street, Brampton, East Chadley Lane, Godmanchester, ,Station Road, Kimbolton, High Street, Tilbrook and High Street, Warboys.

A BT spokesman said: "Most people now have a mobile phone and calls made from our public telephones have fallen by around 90 per cent in the past decade.


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"We consider a number of factors before consulting on the removal of payphones, including whether others are available nearby and usage. We are consulting with Huntingdonshire District Council on the removal of seven phone boxes in the area, providing the community the chance to comment on our proposals."

The spokesman said: "The need to provide payphones for use in emergency situations is also diminishing all the time, with at least 98 per cent of the UK having either 3G or 4G coverage.

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"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."

The spokesman added: "As part of the consultation we are also offering communities the chance to adopt traditional red 'heritage' phone boxes for just £1 through our Adopt a Kiosk scheme and transform them into something inspirational for their local area."

The proposed closures are the latest in a series by BT which is trying to get rid of public telephone boxes across the country which no longer viable economically - some have been recording just a handful of uses or even none.

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