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BT threat to phone boxes

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BT has announced a review that could lead to the removal of public telephone boxes from many communities.

It is considering the future of 48 in Newark and Sherwood, of which 44 are in the Advertiser area.

Six of those are in Newark, two in Balderton and there is one each in Southwell and Ollerton. The others are in villages in the area.

The two red telephone boxes in Newark Market Place that date from 1930 and are listed for protection are not part of the review.

When BT was privatised in 1984 it was obliged to continue providing phone boxes, even if they did not make a profit.

The European Commission has since allowed reviews after suggestions that phone boxes were becoming obsolete because of the popularity of mobile telephones.

One of the phone boxes that may go is the one at Kersall.

The village attracted worldwide attention after a former resident fitted the kiosk with a red carpet, air freshener, a notepad, pen and a calendar.

The clerk to Kersall, Kneesall and Ompton Parish Council, Mrs Patricia Hurt, said it would be sad to lose the phone box because it was so special.

The Kersall phone box survived BT’s last review 18 months ago.

At that time, said Mrs Hurt, there was a petition to save the box. There was no time for that this year because the review was announced at short notice.

“Kersall is a blackspot for mobile phones,” said Mrs Hurt. “You just can’t get a signal.”

In 2006 phone boxes at South Clifton, Kneesall, Eakring, Elston, Norwell Woodhouse, Norwell, Coddington, Brough and Hockerton were changed to accept only card payments (999 calls are free) to make them more cost-effective and less prone to vandalism.

This time it is recommended that they are removed.

Newark and Sherwood District Council has written to all affected parishes asking them to comment.

The deputy leader, Mr Roger Blaney, said: “I think it is fair to say that any parish that wants to launch a save-our-phone-box campaign would have the backing of the district council.”

BT said no decisions had yet been made. The decommissioning of phone boxes must be approved by the industry regulator, Ofcom.

l North Muskham Parish Council on Monday approved a decision to remove the phone box on Nelson Lane because very few people used it.

The telephone boxes under threat are at: Sleaford Road, Grange Road, Farndon Road, Victoria Street and Barnby Road, Newark, Main Street and London Road, Balderton, Chapel Lane, Coddington, Gainsborough Road, Winthorpe, Main Street, Carlton-on-Trent, Main Street, Sutton-on-Trent, North Road, Weston, Chapel Lane, Spalford, Toad Lane, Elston, Hawton, Moor Lane, Syerston, Front Street, South Clifton, Main Street, Norwell, High Street, Holme, Barnby Road, Cromwell, Cottage Lane and High Street, Collingham, Main Road, Besthorpe and Fosse Road, Brough.

Norwood Gardens, Southwell, Southwell Road, Kirklington, Station Road, Rolleston, The Turnpike, Halam, Main Road, Hockerton, Sycamore Lane, Bleasby, Old Main Road, Bulcote, outside Lowdham Grange prison and Main Street, Caythorpe, Notts, Whinney Lane, Ollerton, High Street, Edwinstowe, Main Street, Walesby, Eakring Road, Kneesall, Eakring Road, Wellow, Kirklington Road, Eakring.

The phone boxes in Averham, Kersall, Winkburn, Norwell, Norwell Woodhouse and South Muskham are also under threat.

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