A case for phone boxes to be kept

Mid Berwickshire John Greenwell has been fighting for many of the ward's phone boxes to be kept.
Mid Berwickshire John Greenwell has been fighting for many of the ward's phone boxes to be kept.

Almost all 104 public payphones in the region that BT want to get rid of are needed according to the council.

BT are currently undergoing a consultation process about the future of 1500 pay phone boxes across Scotland and indicated that if Scottish Borders Council makes a case for the kiosks to be retained then they will not be removed.

A case for Ellemford has already been made because of the poor mobile phone reception in the area but it seems there are reasons to keep most of the region’s phone boxes, including all 28 Berwickshire ones on the hit list.

“A case is made for the retention of almost all the public payphones in the Scottish Borders,” a report to this week’s Scottish Borders Council meeting reads.

After consulting with community councils and resilient community organisers SBC officials concluded that they could make a case for the majority of the public phone boxes.

The Cockburnspath phone box was used 39 times in the last year, community councillors pointing out that this is “a higher than expected level and therefore justifies its retention”.

Prior to SBC councillors voting on requesting BT to keep the phone kiosks they were told that BT’s case is based solely on costs, Officer added that during the storms of 2015 and early 2016 BT public payphones were the sole method of communication in some of the more rural communities to report issues.

Berwickshire phone boxes Scottish Borders Council are objecting to being removed are at: Ladykirk, Paxton, Hutton, Foulden, Grantshouse, Gavinton, Winterfield Gardens Duns, Preston, South Street Duns, Longformacus, Ellemford, Cockburnspath, Gordon, Mellerstain, Westruther, The Avenue Eyemouth, Bennison Square Eyemouth, Burnmouth, Lamberton, Ayton, Main Street Chirnside, Lammerview Chirnside, Birgham, Leiholm, Fogo, Simprim and Eccles.