Views sought on plan to remove 19 Shropshire payphones to free up boxes for community use

Shropshire Council is seeking feedback on proposals to remove 19 payphones from public call boxes (PCBs) in the county.

The red telephone box at Castle Square in Ludlow
The red telephone box at Castle Square in Ludlow

The council no longer has the power of veto over removals, following changes made by Ofcom to the Universal Service Obligation which came into effect in June 2022.

Therefore, people living in Shropshire, as well as representatives from parish and town councils have been asked to give their thoughts on whether Ofcom criteria has been met.

The Ofcom criteria assesses reasonable user needs prior to the removal of a ‘last at a site’ PCB and looks to protect the 'last at a site' PCB where:

  • They do not have coverage from all four mobile network providers

  • Or, they are located in an area with a high frequency of accidents or suicides

  • Or, they have made 52 or more calls over the past 12 months (the equivalent of one call per week)

  • Or there is other evidence of a reasonable need for the PCB

If the payphones were to be removed, the kiosks could be adopted for a range of community uses. The more modern kiosks could be adopted for defibrillator storage.

The payphones would be removed by BT and are a mix of traditional style red K6 kiosks and modern style KX100 kiosks.

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, public health and communities, said: “Consultation on this proposed removal by BT of 19 payphones in the county runs through to 28 November.

"The payphones listing includes details by BT of mobile phone coverage across four networks, usage in the last 12 months, and whether or not in their view the payphone is needed for helplines or is in a high accident or suicide risk area, according to their national knowledge.

“What they do not have is local evidence of other reasonable need, which may include factors such as whether the payphone is in an area at risk of flooding, or local knowledge to, for example, indicate a higher risk of accidents than has been identified by BT at this stage.

“Could I please invite parish councils and town councils, as representatives of their communities, any other interested bodies, and individuals within the communities affected, to send in their feedback, including whether it is considered that the Ofcom criteria has been met, along with any evidence of other reasonable need.

"We would like to know if communities consider that the payphones should be retained as working payphones, or adopted for community use, or removed as per BT proposals to do so.

"Modern style kiosks can only be adopted for defibrillator storage, whilst traditional style red K6 kiosks may be adopted for a range of community use.”

The payphones are located at:

  • Lee Brockhurst, Shrewsbury

  • Plex Road, Hadnall, Shrewsbury

  • 70-76 New Street and Whitchurch Road, Wem

  • Post Office, Drayton Road, Shawbury

  • Junction of Waylands Road and Whitchurch Railway Station, Station Road, Whitchurch

  • Junction of Bradford Street and Cheapside, Shifnal

  • Vernolds Common, Craven Arms

  • Little Brampton, Clunbury, Craven Arms

  • Twitchen, Craven Arms

  • Dalelands Estate and Clifford Road, Market Drayton

  • Shropshire Street, Market Drayton,

  • Fairfields Road, Market Drayton

  • All Stretton, Church Stretton

  • Marshbrook, Church Stretton

  • Minton, Church Stretton

  • Cound, Shrewsbury

  • The Bank, off Pontesbury Hill, Pontesbury, Shrewsbury

  • High Street, Albrighton

  • Newport Road, Albrighton

Feedback can be given via email to lois.dale@shropshire.gov.uk by 4pm on Monday, October 30.

This will allow officers time to collate the feedback before issuing draft views in each case from the week beginning Monday November 6.

A final check through before the collation of views on all 19 payphones will be submitted to BT by Tuesday, November 28.

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