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Telephone Boxes  - The Disappearing Kiosks
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27 March 05
Phone Boxes To Be Axed
Henderson Street, Thurso
Millbank Road, Thurso
Heathfield Road, Thurso
Pennyland Drive, Thurso
St Clair Avenue, Scrabster
John O'Groats
Hillhead Ropad, Wick
Phone Boxes To Be changed To BT Chargecard and Emergency (No Cash)
West Banks Avenue, Wick

22 March 05
Community Councils are being asked to respond by 3 June this year to a second wave of consultation by BT Payphones on the future of payphones in the Highlands.

Having received no objection to the removal of more than 100 payphones in an earlier consultation, BT now wishes to remove a further 44 phones and convert 126 phones to cashless kiosks. It aims to retain a network of 371 payphones currently in use.

BT is posting signs on targeted kiosks to highlight those planned for removal or conversion. It has provided The Highland Council with a list of all payphones in support of the proposal and has included revenue band information.

To address the social demand for payphones in the Highlands, BT proposes to convert 126 phones, which will allow the user to contact emergency services, use a BT Chargecard, make reverse calls and use other pre-paid calling cards of telecommunications' operators, which use a pin system or connections via operator services. The user cannot pay for a call by cash in these phones.

Community Councils are being asked to consider if they wish to object - and on what grounds. Objections should be submitted in writing and addressed to Ken McCorquodale, Policy Office, Chief Executive's Office, The Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX.

The new deadline for sending in objections to a removal of a box will be 3 June 2005.

Ken McCorquodale of Highland council will co-ordinate responses from Highland.  Community Councils will again be consulted with maps showing exactly where boxes within their area are to be removed/changed to cashless together with a further map showing the situation within their particular area.
Objections to particular Kiosks being removed should be sent in writing to - BT Telephone Kiosk Review, Ken McCorkindale, Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness

9 October 04
Highlands MSP Highlights Rural case in Phone Debate
Mary Scanlon MSP highlighted the fact that of 1000 phone boxes facing removal under BT's review, 257 are in the Highlands, a region with some of the most remote areas in Scotland.

Speaking during the Parliamentary debate on Closure of Public Telephone Boxes by BT, Mary said; "British Telecom is said to be discussing an option with Highlands and Islands enterprise which would see kiosks being used as Tourist Information Points, a scheme which would involve BT and Local authority Funding, and would only cost 200 per year to fund.

"They could also look into modernising Payphones to make them Multimedia terminals would seem to be a promising innovation for Remote communities which do not necessarily have broadband access."

"A third option would see the phone boxes being employed as emergency phones, allowing the public to telephone the emergency services for free, as well as 0800 numbers. The kiosks could also have a reverse charge facility which would help the public in emergencies.

Commenting on the current BT consultation review, Mary has said; "I hope that the members of our rural communities will see the consultation as an opportunity to put forward their opinions on the future options for phone boxes, as well as voice their criticisms or worries."

Motion debated:
S2M-1706# Bruce Crawford: Closure of Public Telephone Boxes by BT-That the Parliament recognises the value of public telephone boxes as an important public service throughout Scotland in terms of social need and access to emergency services; is concerned about the plans by British Telecom (BT) to close 165 call boxes in towns and villages throughout mid-Scotland and Fife and around 1,000 around Scotland; supports the many community councils who have expressed grave concern at the planned closure of public call boxes in their communities; considers the consultation process conducted by BT to be inadequate, and therefore believes that BT should consult directly with the communities affected and reconsider its plans.

10 September 04
BT Telephone Kiosks  - Another Rural Downgrading?
Well we never thought the phones around the countryside would disappear as they have been there for so long.  Bill started the quirky section to show you round the area and now many of them may disappear before Bill gets to them.  He is on the case and is snapping more every day if he passes them.  Over the next couple of weeks Bill will try to reach a few more before they disappear for ever unless saved by people contacting BT via the planning officer at Highland Council in Inverness with reasons why they should be kept.  Highland Council has nothing to do with the removal but is acting to co-ordinate the responses to BT.  Make sure you let them know about valid reasons  - not generalisations.  Be specific if you know something that might affect the retention.  Could be poor mobile phone reception area.  You only have until 1 October unless they extend the deadline.  The list below is not yet complete but all the Caithness ones are in.  the list will be extended shortly but check you box to see if a notice is on it.

BT Telephone Kiosk Review - Why Is It Happening?
BT is currently reviewing the number of public payphones across the country and there will be many disappearing from Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross as there is in the rest of Scotland.  BT have informed the local authorities of these proposals.  The increase in mobile phone use is put forward as the main reason why the payphones are no longer being used as they were in the past and the revenue from the phones has dropped by 41%

The 72.000 street phones across the UK have approximately 30,000 that are profitable and cover their costs.  the remaining 42,000 are unprofitable.  BT claim that despite this they realise they have said obligations and have pledged to retain a payphone service across the country for people who depend on it.   For people in rural areas particularly they will often find that their local phone is not profitable.  BT Payphones is a stand alone business and BT says they cannot cross subsidise from other parts of the BT group.  BT say that some local authorities have opted to pay to have some phones upgraded to broadband Multimedia kiosks offering access to the internet and a range of e-government information. as well as retaining the voice service..  A new style of phone offering a phone and cash service is now available.

In Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross there are 240 payphones at present.  44 loss making phones are to be retained as an essential service to the community.  108 phones will be removed.  88 profitable phones will be retained. 

BT are now conducting a public consultation about the changes and have contacted councils, MP's and other representatives of the community with the aim of causing as little inconvenience as possible.

The Consultation
BT is obliged to hold a formal consultation as they are a universal provider of services.  BT wrote to various bodies and community councils have now been made aware of the situation in their area..  Notices have been place in all the kiosks to be removed and the consultation period lasts for 42 days from 20 August 2004.  If BT do not receive any responses they will proceed with their plan to remove the kiosk in each area.  BT will take not of any responses received and then take steps to work with the local authority to find a mutually acceptable solution and discuss possible alternative solutions.

The consultation period is underway from 20 August and comments  regarding a specific payphone require to be sent to The Planning Office of the Local Authority by 1 October 2004.  Reponses should give a reason for each box to be retained.  Blanket reasons like "I think rural phone boxes should be retained" are unlikely to have much affect.  To get any recognition you should state precise reasons like an elderly lady who has no phone depends on that b phone box to call her taxi for medical appointments or such reason and full details names and addresses etc should be quoted.  The more reasons given might help to retains the payphone at any given place.  There are no guarantees except that if there are no responses for a particular payphone it will be removed.

BT have the following contact information for more details on all the notices -
Freephone 0800 661660  email customer.serv.payphones.@bt.com

Where To Send Representations In Highland
In Highland send any comments on a specific payphone to -
BT Telephone Kiosk Review, Ken McCorkindale, Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness

2 October 04
MSP's Remind Everyone To Write About Phones
Mary Scanlon MSP has been informed that of 1000 Scottish payphones under threat of withdrawal under BT's Payphone Provision Review, over a quarter are in the Highlands and Islands. There are 257 payphones which are being targeted for removal, many of which are in remote areas where mobile phone signals are unobtainable and where phone kiosks could act as potential life savers.

Mary attended a meeting today with the head of BT Payphones and was told that BT has written to Local Councils; Community Councils and Cairngorms National Park during their consultation period which was due to end on 1st October, but has now been extended to 22nd October.

BT will only remove payphones after obtaining consensus with the local community, but so far they have had only 26% feedback on their consultation document.

They are seeking to remove those kiosks which are earning 200 or less in income, as each payphone costs 1500 per annum. Having looked at the distances between payphones, they feel that the "Social need is being met".

An option would be the enhancement of payphones, in order to make them 'emergency phone' only, with no money being used.

Another option which BT is discussing with Highlands and Islands Enterprise would be the use of kiosks as Tourist Information Points, a scheme which would involve joint BT and Local Authority Funding. Linked to this would be the option of modernising Payphones to make them Multimedia terminals with Broadband capability. Both of these schemes would be sustainable in the long run.

Commenting on the proposals, Mary has said; "I would ask Councillors, Community Councils and local people to make known any concerns they may have over the removal of payphones.

"In many locations across the Highlands Mobile Phone coverage is not good, and payphones remain an important emergency aid, so it is important that the public are made aware of the current consultation, and can contact BT before the 22nd of October deadline."

Speak up to save your local phone box' is the message from SNP MSP Rob Gibson to people throughout the Highlands and Islands. His comments come following a briefing from Paul Hendron director of payphones, who said that the more complaints that are registered against the removal of a phone box the less chance there was that it would be removed.

Mr Gibson is encouraging as many people and interested parties such as community councils who don't want their payphones to close to write to the head of planning for their local authority to register their opposition.  He said..."This is a chance for people no matter where they live to keep their phone box should they want it, the more complaints that the director of planning receives then the less likely it is that a phone box will be removed

Phone Boxes To Be Removed
Postal Address Of Box
Huna, Wick
Post Office, Scarfskerry, Thurso
Junction Martha Terrace, Williamson St. Wick
Museum Grounds Auckengill
Post Office, Kirk, Wick
Post Office, Mey, Thurso
Post Office, Barrock, Thurso
Gills, Canisbay By Wick
Mid Town, Skirza, Freswick, Wick
Tofthouse Farm, Freswick, Wick
Outside Tourist Info Centre, John O'Groats, Wick
Main St., Castletown, Thurso
Post Office, Brough, Thurso
Beside Post Office, Gillock, Wick
Old Post Office, Claredon, Thurso
Community Hall, Scotscalder, Halkirk
Millbank Rd., Thurso
Henderson St. Thurso
Post Office, Janetstown, Thurso
Heathfield Road, Thurso
Sir John's Square, Thurso
Forss, Thurso
St Clair Ave., Scrabster, Thurso
Post Office, Occumster, Lybster
Bridge St., Halkirk
Westerdale, Halkirk
Outside AMS tyres, Unit 16a Airport Industrial Estate, Wick
Beside RAC box in Layby Dunn, Watten
Outside Ruther Farm , Watten, Wick
Braemore, Dunbeath
O/s Post Office, Latheron
Borgue, Berriedale
Tel Pole 158 County Boundary, Dunrobin Street, Helmsdale
O/s Filling Station, Victoria Road, Brora
Near Daisy Cottage, Doll, Brora
Gartymore, Helmsdale
Loth Helmsdale
Near Kildonan lodge, Kildonan, Helmsdale,
Marrel, Helmsdale
Near Swiney Crossroads, Lybster
Houstry, Dunbeath
Post Office, Dunbeath
Post Office, Forsinard
Nr Jctn Marybank/Alness Rds, Invergordon
Village Hall, Nigg, Tain
In village, Rockfield, Tain
Post Office, Lamington St, Tain
Mackinlays Shelter, Hilton, Dornoch
Backies, Golspie
Tressady, Rogart
Gamekeepers House, Gordonbush, Brora
Badnellan, Brora
Rearquhar School, Rearquhar, Dornoch
Sutherland Rd, Dornoch
Library, Birichen, Dornoch
Jcn A9, Badninish, Dornoch
Fourpenny, Skelbo, Dornoch
Crossroads, Near PO, Whiteface, Dornoch
Armadale Post Office, Armadale, Thurso
Post Office Dounreay, Thurso
Post Office, Skerray, Thurso
Off A836 Lednagullin, Armadale, Thurso
Dalhalvaig Post Office, Fordinard
Sub Post Office, Foindle, Lairg
Lubinvoulin, Talmine, Lairg
Opp School Reay, Thurso
Post Office, Shebster, Thurso
Post Office, Westfield, Thurso
Cairnfield Place, Weydale, Thurso
Village Hall, Lyth, Wick
Kirtomy, Bettyhill, Thurso
Farr, Bettyhill, Skerray, Thurso
Near Toll House, Skerray, Thurso
Near Old Manse, Strathy East, Strathy, Thurso
Millburn Road, Strathy Point, Strathy, Thurso
Fanagmore, Lairg
Seaforth Ave/West Banks Ave, Wick
Lay-by A9 Ackergill, Wick
West Shinness, Lairg
Barons Well, Wick
Crossroads, Migdale, Bonar Bridge, Ardgay
Gruids, Lairg
Jctn Lochinver/Linside Rds, Invershin, Lairg
Hotel, Invershin, Lairg
Achnairn, Lairg
Achnahannet School, Ardgay
Culrain, Invershin, Lairg
Nr Doune Schoolhouse Learg, Ardgay
Post Office, Craig, Lairg
Achfary, Lairg
Inchnadamph, Elphin, Lairg
Achfary Lairg
Badcall, Lairg
Rhilochan, Rogart
Strathnaver, Kinbrace
Post Office, Strathnaver, Kinbrace
Muie, Rogart
163 High St., Invergordon
Coldbackie, Lairg
Eriboll, Lairg
Inshegra, Achriesgill, Lairg
Police Station, Rhiconich, Lairg, Sutherland
Junction Culkein Store, Raffin, Lairg
Nedd, Drumbeg, Lairg
Post Office, Clashnessie, Lairg
Ullapool-Lochinver Road, Elphin, Lairg

Phone Boxes remaining for social needs
List under construction
KW14 8XN
KW14 8XH
KW14 8SY
KW14 8TU
KW14 8YE
KW14 8YS
KW12 6XJ
KW14 8PS
KW14 7LD
KW14 7XF
KW14 7DT
KW14 7AN
KW14 7XY
KW14 7UR
KW12 6XY
KW12 6UP
KW13 6YT
IV19 1QP
IV20 1RF
IV19 1AA
IV25 3PW
KW10 6SE
IV28 3UB
IV25 3NE
IV25 3SX
IV25 3NE
IV 25 3JB
IV45 3QF
IV25 3RJ
KW14 7SA
KW14 7YB
KW14 7TH
KW14 7SA
KW13 6YT
IV27 4SU
IV27 4YT
KW14 7RE
KW14 7QY
KW14 7QY
KW14 8YL
KW14 7TB
KW14 7TH
KW14 7TH
KW14 7RZ
KW14 7RY
IV27 4ST
IV27 4DW
IV24 3AR
IV27 4EE
IV27 4ET
IV27 4ET
IV27 4DN
IV24 3DP
IV27 4ET
IV24 3DP
IV24 3DP
IV27 4NZ
IV27 4HL
IV27 4PQ
IV27 4TH
IV25 3JB
IV28 3YF
KW11 6UA
KW11 6UA
IV28 3UB
IV 27 4XP
IV27 4UL
IV27 4RJ
IV27 4BN
IV27 4JH
IV27 4NN
IV27 4JF
IV27 4HH
Wellington St Nicolson St, Wick
Pilot Row, Papgigoe, Wick
PO Buildings, Watten , Wick
Car Park, Main Street, Castletown
Post Office, Dunnet
St Magnus Rd., Thurso
Nr Fish Market, Harbour, Scrabster, Thurso
Provost Sinclair Road, Thurso
Outside Town Hall, Rotterdam St., Thurso
St Johns Square, Thurso
Main St., Lybster
Kw1 5YJ
KW14 8TU
KW14 8XD
KW14 7LX
KW14 7UU
KW14 7AS
KW14 8AB
KW14 7AN