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Now payphones facing the axe...

PUBLISHED: 16:24 26 June 2008 | UPDATED: 11:18 03 July 2010

Numerous public payphones across the borough made unprofitable by near blanket mobile phone use face the axe, it emerged this week.

BT is talking with Great Yarmouth Borough Council about removing 19 call boxes, and simply getting rid others it says it is not required to consult on.

Numerous public payphones across the borough made unprofitable by near blanket mobile phone use face the axe, it emerged this week.

BT is talking with Great Yarmouth Borough Council about removing 19 call boxes, and simply getting rid others it says it is not required to consult on.

The list includes the kiosk at The Staithe, West Somerton, which is considered vital for safety reasons so close to water.

Elsewhere villages like Stokesby already hit by the round of Post Office closures also face losing out.

Although in some villages like Ormesby St Margaret, the demise of the vandal-magnet phone box will be welcomed, the parish council having twice asked for it to be taken away but received not response. “Now they want to take it away they are ready to communicate,” said Jim Shrimplin, ward councillor.

Borough councillors discussed the issue on Tuesday night and decided they needed more information about usage and mobile phone reception in the areas affected.

Council leader Barry Coleman said: “This is a difficult one because one has to realise that more and more people have mobile phones. We decided we wanted to know more about the usage and about the mobile phone coverage. If one is not being used at all it does not make sense to battle for it.

“There are two in Rollesby and that seems a bit unfair on them and the one at The Staithe at Somerton could be needed in an emergency.

“But we understand BT are not a charitable organisation and they are not there to provide social provision but as a big company we want to ask if they can give a bit of lee way. Until the council get some more information we cannot make a reasoned argument.”

BT project liaison officer Rick Thompson said in a letter to the council that the number of calls made from BT payphones had more than halved in the last three years. He said that 99pc of UK homes have a phone and 90pc have a mobile home.

There are currently 61,792 public payphones in Great Britain, 60pc of which no longer pay their way, BT says.

The 19 public payphones said to be little-used and proposed for removal are: Town Road, Fleggburgh, The Staithe, West Somerton, Beccles Road, Fritton, Warren Road, Gorleston, Crab Lane, Bradwell, Middleton Road, Gorleston, Browston Lane, Browston, St Nicholas Gardens, Bradwell, Yarmouth Road, Caister, Beach Road, Scratby, Mautby, West Road, Ormesby, two in Main Road, Rollesby, Somerton Road, Martham, Mill Road, Stokesby, High Road, Burgh Castle, Lowestoft Road, Hopton, Church Road, Repps with Bastwick.

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