PHONE boxes could be removed from a Herefordshire town, sparking anger and safety concerns.

Town councillors have objected to phone boxes being removed in Ross-on-Wye after BT proposed that they would be taken away.

Councillors Chris Bartrum, Ed O'Driscoll and Louis Stark are among those speaking out about the proposal, with the town council agreeing at a meeting on March 11 that the removal of payphones would cause problems.


A spokesperson for the town council said: "The removal of these two payphones would result in a serious shortfall of payphones in Ross-on-Wye and shows a lack of consideration for those with no access to a mobile.

"This poses a significant risk to the welfare of young and vulnerable people, especially with the close proximity of the local school, John Kyrle High School.

"The town council has sent a strong objection letter to BT regarding the proposed removal and has requested that the decision be reviewed.

"Usage data supplied by BT showed that the River View payphone had been used for 50 calls which included five helpline calls and the Three Crosses phone used for 23 calls with two helpline calls during a period of 12 months covering 2022 and 2023.


"The council feels this is proof that there is a need for the provision of this service.

"Councillors are asking residents to send in their objections to the proposed removal of the two payphones by emailing and quoting the call box ID numbers 01989564698 for River View and 01989763153 for Three Crosses."

A BT spokesperson said: “We consulted with Herefordshire Council on plans to remove five redundant payphones in the area as part of our wider programme to remove underused payphones across the UK. These removals are being carried out in line with Ofcom’s latest guidance.

“With the vast majority of people now using mobile phones, it’s led to a huge drop in the number of calls made from payphones. At the same time, mobile coverage has improved significantly in recent years due to investment in masts and the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme.

“Herefordshire Council were notified of our initial decision on the 26th February 2024 and had 21 days to request a review if they felt that these kiosks did not meet Ofcom’s criteria for removal. Following Herefordshire Council’s request for a review, BT is currently reviewing the decision in line with Ofcom’s guidelines.

“We’d urge any communities that would still like to retain their local red kiosk to take it on for £1 through our Adopt a Kiosk scheme.”