Scores of phone boxes facing axe

MSP John Lamont at the Ashkirk phonebox, just off the A7MSP John Lamont at the Ashkirk phonebox, just off the A7
MSP John Lamont at the Ashkirk phonebox, just off the A7
Scores of the Borders' telephone boxes look set to scrapped, but objectors are calling on BT to spare what they describe as vital lifelines for the communities they serve.

The telecommunications company is beginning consultations on the closure of 104 of its 161 phone boxes in the region.

More than a dozen of the boxes facing the axe are in and around Hawick, with three in Kelso, two in Selkirk, two in Peebles and five in Galashiels also under review.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Others in locations including Melrose, Lauder, Gordon, Earlston, Duns and Coldstream face closure too.

The closure plans are causing concern as many of the remote areas potentially affected suffer from poor mobile phone signal and some are in reception blackspots with no service at all.

According to BT, usage of telephone boxes has declined by more than 90 per cent in the last 10 years, due to the rising popularity of mobile phones, rendering phone boxes redundant.

Payphone removal is controlled by the Office of Communications (Ofcom), meaning that BT has to adhere to strict guidelines, including consulting Scottish Borders Council, before proceeding.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It must also put a notice on any phone box at risk stating that it is about to remove it, giving users the chance to register objections.

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont is among those opposed to the closure plans, saying: “I am highly concerned by plans to close nearly two-thirds of the Borders’ phone boxes and have been contacted by a number of worried constituents.

“These phone boxes provide a lifeline for many rural communities, both for visitors and the people who live there.

“While their usage has inevitably fallen, it remains vital to many local communities to continue to have access to a phone box where mobile phone reception is patchy or non-existent, and for those who choose not to have a landline.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“In an emergency, the closure of these payphones could cause real problems.

“The key to keeping them lies with Scottish Borders Council’s reaction to these plans. Anyone who shares my concern must send the council the clear message that our phone boxes are important and should be safeguarded.”

A BT spokeswoman said: “Any removal of payphones is carried out in strict adherence to Ofcom guidelines and, where appropriate, with the consent of local authorities.

“In all instances where there’s no other payphone within 400 metres, we’ll ask for consent from the local authority to remove the payphone. Where we receive objections from the local authority, we won’t remove the payphone.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hawick and Denholm councillor Watson McAteer shares his concerns, saying: “There are about 13 in Hawick, with the most used one being at North Bridge Street, near the lane to Bourtree Place, which has taken 125 calls.

“The proposal to take them all away, through lack of use, is certainly a worry.

“I do understand that many people now use mobile phones, but the phone boxes still provide an emergency service in bad weather and when the mobile network is down.

“It is very important there are enough phone boxes strategically placed in the town and countryside.”

The O/S Post Office Ladykirk

O/S The Cross Inn Pco Paxton

Pco Pco Hutton

A6105 Foulden

Pco Pco Grantshouse

Main St Pco Gavinton
Pco Winterfield Gardens Duns

Polwarth Pco Greenlaw

Opposite Village Hall Pco Preston

Pco South St Duns

Longformacus Village Pco Longformacus

Village Hall Cranshaws Pco

Ellemford Pco

Pco Pco Cockburnspath

Hoggs Law Old Campus Pco Cockburnspath

Steele Rd A.T.E. Newcastleton

On The B6357 Nr Larriston

No.1 Silverbuthall Rd Hawick

Pco 1pco Rosebank Rd Hawick

Nr Oliver Park Weensland Rd Hawick

Corner Bourtree Pl North Bridge St Hawick

Pco Hawick

Pco 1pco Cogsmill

Grid Nt44/4510 Carters Cott Pco Newmill On Teviot

Pco Telephone Exchange Hawick

Pco Pco Chesters/Southdean

Nr Jcn Hawick-Newcastle Rd Pco Bonchester Bridge

Near Cleuchhead South The Forkins

Pco Bedrule Farm Hawick

Pco Pco1 Craik

Pco Poynder Place Kelso

Pco 1pco Sprouston

Pco 1pco The Linn Kelso

O/S The Smithy Ednam

Pco 1pco Nenthorn

1pco Fans Farm Earlston

Pco Main St Gordon

Pco Pco Mellerstain

Pco Pco Lempitlaw

Pco Pco Cessford

Pco Pco Morebattle

Pco Pco Heiton

Pco Makerstoun

Lay-By O/S No 6 Edinburgh Rd Lauder

Adj To Bus Shelter Galashiels Rd Stow

Pco Telephone Exchange Eden Rd Gordon

O/S Telephone Exchange Pco Fountainhall Galashiels

Pco Horsbrugh Ford Cardrona

Pco Pco Eddleston

Pco Post Office Kirkton Manor

Pco Pco Blyth Farm Road Blyth Bridge

Near Stobo Schoolhouse Pco Peebles

Jcn A7 Pco Galashiels

Jnc Raeburn Meadow Bleachfield Rd Selkirk

Pco Scotts Place Selkirk

Lay By On A7 Pco Cransfield Drive Ashkirk

O/S Cafe And Bistro Pco 42200 Selkirk

O/S Telephone Exchange Pco Ettrickbridge

Ettrick/Selkirk Rd Selkirk

O/S Village Hall/Ettrick Pco

Pco Yarrowford

Pco 1pco Longnewton Village Newtown St Boswells

Outside Post Office Pco Bowde

Pco 1pco Nr Po Maxton Maxton

Pco Pco Ancrum

Pco Sandystones Ancrum

O/S Camptown Exchange 1pco Jedburgh

Pco Pco Mossburnford

Pco The Bountrees Jedburgh

Pco Oxnam Mains Jedburgh

O/S The Croft 1pco Lanton

Pco 1pco Bongate Jedburgh

Pco Howden Rd Jedburgh

Pco The Avenue Broad St Eyemouth

Pco Bennison Square Eyemouth

Pco Upper Burnmouth Burnmouth

Near Ayton Lamberton

Pco The Crofts Ayton

Pco 1pco Edrom Village

Pco Main Street East End Chirnside

Pco Lammerview Chirnside

Pco Pco Birgham

Pco Main St Leitholm

Pco Main St Eccles

Fogo Village Pco

Pco Pco Simprim

Pco Magdala Terrace Galashiels

Corner Of Tweed Rd Abbotsford Rd Galashiels

Pco Balmoral Rd Galashiels

Pco Huddersfield St Galashiels

Pco Larchbank St Galashiels

Pco Smiths Rd Darnick

Pco Pco Gattonside

Pco Main St Newstea

Pco Ballantyne St Innerleithen

Pco Hall St Innerleithen

Pco Yair Galashiels

Bus Lay-By Jnc A72 Meigle Row Clovenfords

Pco Galashiels Rd Walkerburn

Drumelzier Sub Post Office Pco

Pco Dreva Rd Broughton

Broughton Central Broughton

Pco Skirling

Pco Braeside RomannoBridge