Do We Need These Houghton Regis Phone Boxes?

  • BT has proposed to remove 29 payphones from Central Bedfordshire including 4 in Houghton Regis. You are asked to give your opinion to be passed onto BT.


Central Bedfordshire residents are being urged to give their views on BTs plans to remove 29 public payphones.

BT has proposed to remove 29 steel and grey payphones that they have identified as unnecessary across Central Bedfordshire. 

As part of the process, Central Bedfordshire Council is required to undertake a public consultation and to inform BT of the results. The consultation which runs until Friday 6 November 2020 will enable residents to comment on whether they agree or object to the proposals.

To make sure that the local community are fully informed, BT have placed consultation notices on these payphones and the council is asking the community their opinion.

You may remember that the Council conducted a similar consultation for BT at the beginning of this year. The new consultation includes 28 phone boxes that were consulted on in January 2020 and one addition, which is the payphone in Vimy Road, in Leighton Buzzard.  Central Bedfordshire Council received 86 responses in January 2020 regarding BT’s proposals to remove these public payphones.

Based on the responses received during the January 2020 consultation, Executive decided the 28 payphones should remain and based on recent feedback received from Leighton Linslade Town Council relating to the phone box on Vimy road, the Council is proposing to object to all 29 payphones being removed.

The consultation indicated that there was general support for retaining the boxes in villages – either as payphones or adopting them for community use. There were a handful of suggestions that the payphones could be used by the community as small lending libraries.

Some of the objections were about the lack of mobile signal in the villages and the need for payphones in the case of network outages. Some communities lodged concerns that removing the payphones will have more of an impact on the elderly and disabled.

A further month will now be given for local people to have their say ahead of a final view being requested in December from the Council’s Executive, who will be asked to consider and agree on a response to BT. A final decision notice will then be published on the Council’s website which will outline the position on the proposed removals.

Cllr Richard Wenham, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Corporate Resources, said, “We have listened and reviewed all of the comments provided to us by those who responded to the January 2020 consultation including the public and town and parish councils. We have also been looking at a number of other factors including usage of the payphones in the last year and housing deprivation around where they are located.

“You may have seen details of this consultation posted on affected phone boxes within this area. We would like to ask for any further comments before we submit our final response to BT, which details whether we agree or object to the proposals for each payphone and the reasons why.”

If BT disagrees with any of the objections made by the council, it will ask to formally review those objections with the local authority and Ofcom will consider the decision on the proposed closure.

You’ll find more information – including a list of the public payphones proposed to be removed at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations.

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Houghton Regis local news, events, council news, going on in Houghton Regis and nearby villages, Bedfordshire, UK. Editor Alan Winter

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