Should The Pay Phone Box in Hillborough Crescent Be Removed?

Central Bedfordshire Council consulted on behalf of BT to find out what people thought about proposals to remove BT Phone Boxes. Responses to a number of considered locations across Central Bedfordshire area were looked at. 

A notice on Houghton Regis News Desk about this on 5 Nov 2019 reached 1,428 people:

The first stage consultation ran from 5 November -3 December 2019. Consultees were asked whether they objected to or supported BT’s proposal to remove the payphones. A total of 209 responses were received. The second consultation began on 17 December and closed on 21 January. Consultees were asked whether they supported, or not, the Council’s First Decision.  

This report focusses on the payphone box outside Shops PCO1 Hillborough Crescent Houghton Regis, LU5  5NS. Public consultation indicates an objection to payphone removal.

First consultation:

The comments received relating to this payphone are:

Do not object
“We and all of those in our family use mobiles phones.”
“Used less than once per day is a good reason to remove it.”

“This is still used by local residents and I feel it is needed in the area.”

“High usage”

“Because it was used 274 times in the last year which shows that it is a needed and used phonebox. Of course, mobile phones need no infrastructure upkeep as there are no phone boxes, telephone lines, manual maintenance, cleaning etc., and are therefore by far more profitable. More so when the mobile phone companies charge swingeingly for a mobile call when compared to a landline. This is the main reason why land-based communication is being reduced. There are many cases when a mobile may not be used and there is a need to use a phonebox, if you can find one! Batteries run low, mobiles are forgotten at home, some places do not accept mobile call originators, someone may be visiting England or even be out of their mobile area and not wish to pay the exorbitant extra fee penalty and so on...”

“This is a lovely feature it represents a touch of class, Houghton Regis would benefit from keeping this phone box, no rush to remove and maybe someone will adopt this and put this to good use, taking this away will be wiping away potential use of this iconic phone box.  It is in fashion to have these call boxes.   Houghton Regis Town Council should adopt this.”

“That it was [used] 274 times in the last 12 months indicates that it this is a necessary facility”

“Because even though it may not be used as often as before it is still used and as long as the phone can be of use to one person it remains an asset to the community.  Also many of the un/under represented people in society need phones ...think homeless, financially impaired/ affected, those with poor credit etc.”

“I believe 274 times in the past year is significant to the area with deprivation.”

“Why would you take away a phone that has been used 274 times?”

“There are times when you might be in difficulty but not have a mobile phone, e.g. if your bag has been stolen, or you have run out of charge, or you have been assaulted and can't find it. Please keep this payphone. It may generate a cost for British Telecom, but they are providing a public service.”

“There are very few boxes around this area, if it is adopted then this will be a good alternative otherwise it should be maintained.”

BT Payphones consultation 2020 Stage 2

Taking into account the feedback from stage 1 of the consultation, the CBC's response is to object to the removal of this payphone. 5 people agreed with this, one person disagreed. (source)

In all the CBC area, the CBC Executive is to be asked to object to 28 payphones being removed, agree to the removal of 1 payphone and one payphone exempted which is in the process of adoption by a Town Council. They will make this decision at their meeting on 4 Feb 2020.

You can study the documentation for this.

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