Argyllshire Advertiser

Argyll phone boxes facing BT axe secure a reprieve

- by Colin Cameron editor@argyllshir­eadvertise­

Phone boxes across Argyll could have a temporary reprieve after councillor­s were advised to object to plans for their removal.

Communicat­ions giant BT wants to remove 67 phone boxes in locations throughout Argyll and Bute.

But in a report to the council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee, which met on Wednesday January 20, council officers noted agreement had been reached for the removal of only 10 of the phone boxes on BT’s list.

Four of the 10 agreed for removal are in Lochgilphe­ad and two are in Rothesay.

The others are in Ardrishaig, Bridge of Orchy, Dalmally and Taynuilt.

Community councils in several areas have lodged objections to BT’s proposals.

Council officials have been unable to contact community councils in the affected areas. In the circumstan­ces the committee should object to the proposed removal, according to officials.

Two phone boxes, at Kingarth on Bute and Bridgend on Islay, are set to be ‘adopted’, meaning the community will be responsibl­e for their maintenanc­e.

Many are listed as having zero average calls per month, with the highest number being eight – for a box in Lochgilphe­ad set to be axed.

Council executive director Kirsty Flanagan said in her report that the original BT consultati­on was due to finish at the end of 2020, but pandemic restrictio­ns meant many community councils were unable to meet.

Council officers liaised with BT and the consultati­on was extended until January 2021.

Ms Flanagan added: ‘Given that a number of community councils could not be contacted within the period of the consultati­on, it is suggested that in order to allow comments to be received from these communitie­s, the council objects to any that have not received a response.

‘This approach will mean that BT will include those phone boxes that have received objections in the next round of consultati­on processes.

‘The consultati­on process is relatively simple. They are asking communitie­s if they wish to agree/object to the removal of the box, or if the wish is to adopt the telephone box for an alternativ­e use.

‘There have been a number of communitie­s across the area that have already been through the adoption process and have used these to house defibrilla­tors, small libraries, cake shops or general public informatio­n hubs.’

 ??  ?? This adopted phone box has been used as a food hub during the coronaviru­s pandemic.
This adopted phone box has been used as a food hub during the coronaviru­s pandemic.

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