Ellemford phone box saved but others still at risk

The phone box at Cranshaws  Village Hall is under threat
The phone box at Cranshaws Village Hall is under threat

Plans to remove three public phone boxes in the Lammermuirs have been challenged by the local community council, resulting in one being removed from the list so far.

BT is considering removing over 100 phone boxes across the Scottish Borders and observations on its plans are initially to go to Scottish Borders Council. Boxes at Longformacus village, Ellemford bus shelter (both on the Southern Upland Way) and at Cranshaws Village Hall were under threat but after Lammermuir Community Council, chairman Mark Rowley, wrote to BT as well as the council, the Ellemford box has been removed from the list.

BT’s Paul McDonald wrote to Mr Rowley: “We’ve found a mobile telephone signal near two of the boxes you’ve mentioned. But we couldn’t find one near the box in Ellemford (01361890270). So we’ve withdrawn this box from the consultation exercise.

“If Scottish Borders Council objects to the removal of the other two boxes, they too will stay in place for the foreseeable future.”

With one down and two to go Mr Rowley said: “Whilst the boxes may be little-used they are in an area with near to negligible mobile, broadband, 3G or 4G coverage.

“It is irresponsible, iniquitous and unjust of BT to seek to remove three potential lifelines in an area where their own alternative services clearly do not reach.”

“Since BT’s previous proposed closure little has changed; the area still has negligible-to-patchy mobile coverage, near non-existent 3G and 4G cover and it remains frequently exposed to severe weather events.

“There is one very significant change now though; the telephone boxes are an even more vital part of our community’s resilience planning. We have funded and installed open access defibrillators close to each of the threatened boxes.”