Communities urged not to let their phone boxes die

No longer the familiar sight they once were - but they could have a new life.
No longer the familiar sight they once were – but they could have a new life.

THE FUTURE OF red telephone boxes in Moray is in some doubt as 63 have been scheduled for removal by owners BT.

Once a common sight on every main street, the iconic red boxes have slowly fallen into disuse in an era when everyone young and old carry their own mobile phones in their pockets.

Moray Council has invited members of the public to give their views on how the remaining Moray boxes might be used for other purposes – and one who has already responded is regional Labour MSP David Stewart.

“It seems to me that here we have a great opportunity for Community Councils or Community Groups to adopt a kiosk for £1 – and turn them into a community news noticeboard or hub,” Mr Stewart told insideMoray this week, adding: “What a great chance there is here to fit boarding to the inside of the kiosks and allow the community to put up all sorts of community related notices.

“All those resident or visiting in that particular location could just pop over to the kiosk and read the public notices relevant to that area.

“I have written to Moray Council also with my suggestion, but I have also suggested that community groups or local businesses really consider taking advantage of making these redundant telephone kiosks the location for storing a community defibrillator.

“These machines are not cheap and cost about £1000. However, if any local group or business would like to look at developing this suggestion, even as a pilot, I am more than happy to assist and do what I can to help facilitate and fundraise.”

A spokesman for BT said the company will continue to be committed to providing a public payphone service – but with their use declining by 90% over the last ten years they are reviewing the number in use.

The spokesman added: “Any removal of payphones is carried out in strict adherence to the Ofcom guidelines and, where appropriate, with the consent of local authorities. In all instances where there’s no other payphone within 400 metres we’ll ask for consent from the local authority to remove the payphone. Where we receive objections from the local authority, we won’t remove the payphone.”

People in Moray can have their say by completed the survey form online.

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