A formal consultation process is being carried out by BT regarding the intended removal of public payphones within the District of Mole Valley.
There are 7 public payphones within the District which have been identified and proposed for removal by BT under the 90 day consultation process, details of which can be viewed within the attached document. For Ashtead, the two payphone boxes are at Craddocks Parade (which we believe hasn't been in operation for some years now) and the corner of BWL and Harriotts Lane.
To ensure that all local communities are informed, BT have placed consultation notices on the relevant payphones. The notices will also include the date they were posted on each of the individual payphones. The 90 day consultation is due to end on 6 July 2021.
How has the consultation come about?
BT have confirmed that the overall use of payphones has declined by over 90 per cent in the last decade. Most people also do not consider payphone provision as essential. Ofcom’s 2005 review of the telecommunications market confirmed that it is the responsibility of the local authority to initiate its own consultation process to canvas the views of the local community, including Parish Councils and Residents’ Associations.
What happens next?
Each consultation notice on the relevant payphones states that representations must be received within 42 days (6 weeks) of the date shown at the top of the notice. At our discretion, MVDC will accept comments submitted by the end of Monday 31 May 2021. Local communities will be given the opportunity to either agree, adopt or object to the removal of each of the payphones listed.
If the decision of the local community is to adopt the payphone for their area, the relevant contact details must be submitted to MVDC (Planning Policy – Planning.Policy@molevalley.gov.uk ), which will then be passed on to BT to allow them to make contact. The consultation process gives local communities the opportunity to adopt a traditional red heritage phone box and make it an asset for local people for just £1. If however the decision is to object, reasons for objecting will need to be submitted to MVDC by the same email address, having reviewed all of the relevant information set out in Annex 1 of Ofcom’s guidance using the link provided below:
A summary of the guidance can also be found here:
If no information is submitted in relation to one or more payphones on the list, it will be assumed that there is no objection to its removal and that the local community do not wish to adopt it.
Please note that all comments from local communities must be submitted to MVDC Planning Policy by Monday 31 May 2021. Once received, the responses will be considered and a draft decision (also known as the First Notification) will be sent on to the Secretary of State as well as all relevant local community groups, for a one month consultation period.
Once the one month consultation period has ended, MVDC will then need to consider the responses to the draft decision and publish a final decision (Final Notification) in addition to sending a final copy to the Secretary of State and BT. This entire consultation process must be carried out by 6 July 2021.