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Pay phones under threat at 110 sites across the Highlands; Highland Council launches consultation over BT proposals

By Philip Murray


MORE than 100 phone boxes could be stripped out of Highland communities – some in remote areas with spotty mobile phone coverage - under plans by BT.

Highland Council is seeking public opinion over BT’s proposal to remove 110 public payphones and has launched an online consultation to gauge views.

Under regulations by communications regulator Ofcom, local authorities have the responsibility to co-ordinate consultations to gather views about proposed payphone removals.

The council is encouraging members of the public to look at BT’s proposals and comment, giving as much information as possible.

To comply with Ofcom guidelines the council will undertake a two-stage consultation where communities and others will have the opportunity to object or agree to the proposed changes. The first stage will invite comments on the proposed removals.

Following the first stage, a first notice of decision will be published which will outline Highland Council’s initial position on the proposed removals. Communities and stakeholders will then be invited to consider the first notice of decision and then be given a further opportunity to comment on the proposed changes.

Highland Council leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson said: “Let’s be clear that this is BT’s proposals that we are consulting on and Highland Council is keen to know public opinion on all of these phones.

“It’s important that as many people as possible reply to the survey so that we can build an accurate picture of individuals’ and community views and needs.

She added: “I urge members of the public to respond to the consultation. People living in the areas of proposed closures are in the best position to know the impact the removal of a payphone would have on them and their community.”

The first stage of the consultation –along with full list of under threat phone boxes – is available at https://www.highland.gov.uk/consultations and will be open until 5pm on September 18.

For further information or questions about the consultation, contact the Highland Council Policy Unit at policy6@highland.gov.uk or phone 01463 702 006.

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