Breckland vows to fight for phones

BT has received a formal objection to the removal of 19 payphones from the Breckland area after a working party was set up by the district council to examine its rationalisation programme.

BT has received a formal objection to the removal of 19 payphones from the Breckland area after a working party was set up by the district council to examine its rationalisation programme.

Earlier this year the telephone company informed district councils in Norfolk and north Suffolk that at least 200 payphones were earmarked for removal across the region because they were no longer profitable due to the rising ownership of mobile phones, with 70 of these in Breckland.

They added that although some of these were still regularly used they were also being regularly vandalised and therefore were costing the company too much to maintain.

But towns and parishes have reacted angrily to the threat and during a consultation period, which ended this week, many objected to the plans claiming the phones were still a valuable community resource.


You may also want to watch:


As a result of Breckland council's overview and strategy commission meeting last month a working group was formed, made up of councillors Mark Kiddle-Morris, Shirley Matthews and Diana Irving and supported by scrutiny officer Mark Broughton, to consider each payphone listed in BT's programme within the Breckland district on a site by site basis.

The group initially highlighted 26 payphones which it felt had merit enough to remain based on usage of at least 300 phone calls in the last year and/or where the relevant town or parish council had formally objected.

Most Read

They then identified various additional issues relevant to the proposals - vandalism and anti-social behaviour, theft and mobile phone signal strength - and produced a list of criteria they would use when deciding which kiosks they would object to being removed.

These criteria included whether there was any social housing in the vicinity, the usage of the phone boxes, mobile phone coverage, the location of the next nearest public phone box and whether there were any significant objections from third parties.

The group, which presents its findings to the next overview and scrutiny commission meeting on Thursday, will argue for the retention of 19 payphones.

These are: Billingford (Festival Road), Caston (The Green), Cranworth (Swathing), Little Cressingham (Watton Road), Dereham (Moorgate Road and Shipdham Road), Little Fransham (Main Road), Hardingham (High Common), Holme Hale (Cook Road), Hockering (The Street), Mundford (Swaffham Road and West Tofts), Narborough (Eastfields), Sparham (The Street), Thetford (Anne Bartholomew Road and Glebe Close), Watton (Norwich Road), Weeting (Hockwold Road) and Woodrising.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter