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Council to back bid to save nine West Norfolk pay phone kiosks - including those at West Walton and Walpole St Peter

97 phone boxes face removal in West Norfolk.

97 phone boxes face removal in West Norfolk.

Archant

Councillors are expected to support efforts to save nine West Norfolk public phone boxes – including phones in West Walton and Walpole St Peter.

But officials accept there is no appetite to oppose BT who wants to close nearly 90 others across King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.

The matter is to be considered by West Norfolk planning committee on Monday after a senior council official described it as an “issue of wider concern”.

BT announced last summer their proposal to remove 97 BT payphones in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk but offered parish councils an option to ‘adopt’ the relevant kiosk once BT services had been removed.

Although, technically, it is not a planning issue council officers felt the planning committee was best placed to review the list of 97 payphone kiosks listed for removal.

They are recommending councillors offer no objection to the removal of 77 kiosks where the parish council has raised no objection or not responded.

The council will also be recommended to raise no objection to the removal of a further 11 payphones with the proviso that the kiosks remain in situ at the request of the parish council for adoption.

But the council is being urged to support those nine local councils that want to keep their payphones.

“On balance it is recognised that as a commercial organisation, BT is mindful of the costs of maintaining payphone kiosk services which are being used less and less, especially as mobile phone coverage has improved,” says a report to the planning committee.

“Many of the kiosks have not been used for at least 12 months. The coin boxes had previously been removed from most, if not all, of the kiosks due to criminal interference.”

Those kiosks the council will support keeping are:

Burnham Overy Staithe (poor mobile phone coverage, kiosk used 37 times in a year)

Runcton Holme /South Runcton (2) (poor mobile phone coverage)

Docking (adjacent to Ripper Hall)

West Walton/Walton Highway (2) (poor mobile service and Lynn Road kiosk used frequently)

Walpole St Peter (no objection to removal of two but third on Walnut Road needed for emergency use)

Sedgeford (pre-school nearby uses kiosk as part of emergency evacuation procedures)

Old Hunstanton (defibrillator is next door thus possible need for emergency calls)

BT has also identified 16 phone boxes for removal in Fenland, and 26 in East Cambridgeshire.

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