Phone boxes could be for the chop

Phone boxes could be no more
Phone boxes could be no more

Dozens of public phone kiosks in the Scarborough area are set to be removed or closed down by British Telecom.

Some 11 have been earmarked in Scarborough town with many others in the rest of the borough, especially the villages.

In total nearly 60 have been highlighted for closure by BT, mainly because of lack of use. Fifteen of the street kiosks have not had even one caller using them in the past year, reveals BT.

A spokesman said BT had 67,000 kiosks through Britain and were used often by people on low incomes or who had no phone or mobile phone at home.

But the money BT had received from its kiosks dropped 50 PC between 2000 and 2006, according to latest figures and six out of every 10 kiosks lost money.

He added: “However, we have a duty in what is known as the Universal Service Obligation, to provide a reasonable number of working phone boxes where they are most needed.”

Now, BT is carrying out a consultation in the Scarborough Council area, seeking the views of the public and parish and town councils.

Kiosks scheduled for closure in Scarborough are at Cross Lane, Coldyhill Lane, The Croft, Scalby Road, Wreyfield Drive, Filey Road, and Napier Crescent.

Others in the rural areas are at South Street, Scalby; Staintondale, Reighton, Flixton, Speeton, Cloughton, Burniston, West Barnby, East Barnby, Newholme, South Street, Scalby; Herdborough Road, Eastfield, Cloughton, Muston, Cayton, Lebberston, Gristhorpe, Burniston, Flixton, East Ayton, Snainton, Wykeham, West Ayton and Ruston.

Cllr David Jeffels, Trustee and former Chairman of Rural Action Yorkshire, said it was vital that kiosks should remain in areas where mobile phone coverage was poor or non-existent.

“It is a service which must be retained in such areas, especially in the National Park which attracts thousands of tourists every year but where mobile phone coverage is at best spasmodic and in many cases very poor.

“But it is important that we save the traditional red kiosks, known as K6, which date back to the 1920’s. They are an important part of the village street scene and their loss would be a sad loss to the heritage of our rural areas.”

The public consultation period runs until November 21.

Planning departments at Scarborough Town Hall and the North York Moors National Park, Helmsley, are collating responses.