BT wants to take away our phone boxes

Time to join in the consultation – too late when the boxes have gone


The payphone box in East Hatley, August 2020. Both it and the phone box in Hatley St George are under threat from BT which feels the boxes are not used enough to justify keeping them.

BT has given notice to South Cambridgeshire District Council of its intention to remove the public telephone services from both Hatley St George and East Hatley (pictured above).

The poster which has appeared in East Hatley and Hatley St George payphone boxes. Both phone boxes are under threat from BT which feels the boxes are not used enough to justify keeping them.

The poster has appeared in East Hatley and Hatley St George payphone boxes – they are under threat from BT which feels the boxes are not used enough to justify keeping them.

The reason given for the removal of this service is lack of demand – but, as Parish Councillor Nicola Jenkins reports:

Hatley St George phone had been cut off since May so it’s no wonder they’ve not recorded any calls having been made!

I phoned to ask for it to be repaired and have been told that this is now under way.

It seems that due to the excessive time for the results of the last consultation to be announced, Outreach assumed the phone had actually been removed, as BT had threatened.

So, without checking with BT, they used one of the pair of lines to supply another customer.

It is now quite a big job to reinstate a new pair of lines but the work is going ahead.

All this took me several phone calls to find out – the last person I asked promised to keep me informed (although it’s officially against the rules to contact me!).

I can’t believe they are threatening us again so soon, as it’s only recently that we found out the result of the last consultation!

The East Hatley phone is still available for emergencies.

— So what now? —

South Cambridgeshire District Council invited Hatley Parish Council (HPC) to respond to the consultation – to object to the removal of the telephone kiosk, HPC has built its argument based on the following Ofcom guidance:

  • Who lives in the area?
  • Is there a requirement for emergency calls?
  • What is the income generated by the service and call volume?

The Parish Council’s main reason for objecting to their removal in recent years has been the absence of a reliable mobile phone service provider in the parish to allow emergencies called to be made.

Your views on the retention or removal of one or both phone services are welcomed by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Please send your comments to SCDC by e-mail to Rebekah.Jongkind@scambs.gov.uk, Project Assistant for the Sustainable Communities Team, or by post to South Cambridgeshire Hall, Cambourne Business Park, Cambourne, CB23 6EA.  The deadline for comments is Wednesday, 30th September.

Post created 24th August 2020; updated 14th September 2020.