Pay phones could be life savers, say villages

Payphones could be lost forever.

Payphones could be lost forever.

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Parish councils in villages around Louth, Alford and Mablethorpe have strongly objected to plans to remove BT’s red phone boxes.

As previously reported, BT is currently consulting on plans to remove up to 96 pay phone kiosks across East Lindsey - due to a lack of usage, and the rise of mobile phones.

Following the first phase of consultation, a number of parish councils have objected to the plans - citing poor mobile coverage and emergencies as key reasons.

Utterby Parish Council submitted one of the most robust objections in relation to the phone box in Grange Lane, and stated: “Public phone boxes provide emergency contact ability in the event of power failure.”

The parish council added: “Phone boxes provide an essential link for at risk groups which includes children and poorer households.

“Ofcom recommends that they should be preserved in areas that serve a high proportion of low income and rented properties. There are a high proportion of elderly and low income residents in Utterby.”

Meanwhile, the proposed removal of the phone box in Sutton Road, Trusthorpe, received objections due to lack of alternative provision.

East Lindsey District Council (ELDC) also observed that the Sutton Road phone box had been used 150 times in the last 12 months, and that mobile phone coverage was often poor in the area.

Willoughby Parish Council objected to the removal of the phone box in Main Road and said that, while there was only one call made in the last 12 months, this was most likely due to the fact that the phone has been out of action for many months.

Parish councils in Brinkhill, Farlesthorpe, Aby, Tetford and Salmonby all objected to the removal of their local phone boxes, wholly or partly based on the potential lack of phone coverage in emergency situations.

Parish councils in Marshchapel, Grainthorpe, North Cotes, Gayton le Marsh, have all requested the opportunity to ’adopt’ their local at-risk phone box for community use.

There have also been requests from residents in the villages of Well and Kelstern to adopt their local phone box.

• Visit www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/phoneboxes for the full list, and to take part in the next stage of consultation. The deadline is December 27.