Lesbury Parish Council serving the Villages of Bilton, Hipsburn and Lesbury in Northumberland.
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Subject: Removal of BT telephone box
I am writing to you to bring to your attention that the Council has received notification from British Telecom that they wish to remove approx 170 telephone boxes from the County over the next few months, some of which are in your Ward - Alnmouth Railway Station and Lesbury Post Office.
BT want to remove the one and only call box from a site there are a set of procedures that are laid down by Ofcom that have to be followed. BT have to display an official notice in the call box, to tell the public that they are planning to remove this particular phone box and the name of the local authority where people can object. There are a limited number of reasons that can form the reason for objection which includes no mobile signal and safety concerns..
As well as letting the public know, BT must also notify local authorities about their plans to remove the call box. There is a Council procedure overseen by the Planning Service, notifications are posted on the planning website and all Town and Parish Councils that are directly affected are contacted and asked for their views as part of an agreed consultation process.
In all there is a 90 day process which commences when the Council is notified. Initially there is a 21 day consultation period in which people can raise objections and this period is due to start today.
The Council would not want to see boxes removed where there is a genuine need for them to remain. We will be working with individual Town and Parish Councils and the Northumberland Association of Local Councils to provide evidence to support the retention, such as type of local housing, poor mobile coverage, emergency calls or call box revenue. With sufficient evidence the Council can object and and potentially prevent the removal.
However we are also aware through the Parish Council Liaison Group that there are a number of phone boxes that communities actually want removed as they are not used and attract vandalism so this could be an opportunity to ensure this is part of the process.
If you require any additional information please do not hesitate to get in contact.
Community Regeneration Manager
Economic & Inclusion Policy Team
Tel: 01670 624744