Council bids to veto loss of 15 West Norfolk phone boxes

Fifteen of West Norfolk's phone boxes should be retained, despite plans to remove them, say councillors
Fifteen of West Norfolk's phone boxes should be retained, despite plans to remove them, say councillors
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A total of 15 telephone boxes around West Norfolk should be retained, despite plans to remove them, a council committee has concluded.

A public consultation on BT’s proposals to scrap 97 payphones around the borough will end next Friday.

And, although most look set to go, members of the borough council’s planning committee backed calls for 15 to be kept, where objections had been lodged with the authority, during a meeting on Monday.

The issue will now go back to the telecommunications giant, which does have the right of the appeal if it disagrees with the decision, when it receives formal notification.

BT has previously claimed there is no longer a “social need” to retain any of the kiosks, because of rapidly declining usage in recent years.

But members backed calls from last week’s meeting of the Lynn area consultative committee to retain six boxes in the unparished area of Lynn for reasons including the level of use.

The most commonly used box on the at risk list is in Newlands Avenue, North Lynn and has been used 334 times in the past year.

Another box in Hansa Road was used on more than 100 occasions.

They also wanted other sites to be retained because of their proximity to the pedestrian ferry terminal at West Lynn and the College of West Anglia campus.

The others the committee wants to keep are in Burnham Overy Staithe, Docking, Old Hunstanton, Runcton Holme, Sedgeford, Walpole St Peter and West Walton.

The main concerns in most of those areas related to emergency availabilty and the problems caused by poor mobile phone coverage in the localities.

The committee supported plans to remove 70 boxes where no objections had been raised or community representatives had not responded to the consultation.

They also backed the wishes of 12 areas who wish to retain the boxes after the phone equipment is removed.

One of those is Gayton, whose parish council has indicated it wants to keep the box for community use.

Communities that wish to adopt the boxes are asked to pay a nominal £1 fee to do so.