Dear Local Member/ Clerk to the Community or Town Council,

I attach information and a pro forma supplied by BT regarding the potential closure/ removal of existing BT phone call boxes (PCBs) in your area.

The County Council has been asked to consult the community and make a response on whether to agree or object to each of the proposed phone call box removals. The County Council can object to the removal of the boxes where appropriate.

Annex 1 of Ofcom’s guidance covers factors the County Council can take into account in considering whether to object to the removal of the call boxes. These are:

Housing type in the area
A.5 A Relevant Public Body may consider whether the area within the same postcode as a PCB is predominately owner-occupied, privately rented or council housing. The more owner-occupied housing in the area the more likely it is that people living in that area would have access to mobile and fixed telephones. If there is predominantly private rented or council housing in the area, this may suggest 9 people on a lower income without access to mobile and fixed telephones and support the view that a PCB should be retained.

Number of households in the area
A.6 There may be concerns about alternative access to telephone services for low population densities. A Relevant Public Body may determine the number of households within the same postcode as a PCB. The number of households within 400 metres of a PCB could be seen as the catchment area for that PCB.
A.7 The number of households in the area would not however include any passing traffic or reflect that a PCB might be situated on a main road or busy terminus. Such detail should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

PCB revenue
A.8 BT and Kingston may be willing to provide information about the revenue generated by a particular PCB. This should help measure PCB usage and could be an indicator of its value to the community. The lower the annual revenue that a PCB generates, there could be grounds for its removal.
A.9 Consideration may be given by a Relevant Public Body to the other factors listed above before it relies on annual revenue alone to support a decision to consent or object to the complete removal of PCBs and/or CBS from a Site. The annual revenue of a PCB should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Emergency calls
A.10 Many people place great value on having the option to use a PCB in an ‘emergency’. However, not all calls considered as emergency calls by the public are calls to the emergency services, for example police, fire, ambulance and coastguard services. For example, people often cite calls to roadside breakdown as being emergency calls.
A.11 The importance of retaining a PCB for ‘emergency calls’ should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The body needs to think about whether a particular PCB is more likely to be used for emergency calls than another. For example if there are alternative means of making calls available locally and/or there is good coverage for mobile phones, this may suggest that there is a reduced need to retain the phone box on emergency grounds. But if, for example, the call box is near a known accident black-spot, it may suggest it should be retained.

Mobile phone coverage
A.12 While three-quarters of adults now personally use a mobile phone, people often cite poor, sporadic or the lack of mobile network coverage at a location as being an important factor for retaining a PCB.
A.13 The main mobile networks, including 3, 02, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone allow you to check the network coverage in any given postcode area on their websites. While this might not be conclusive, it should help to assess network coverage within the same postcode as a PCB.

As such we would be grateful for any observations you wish to make by 18th October 2019 to enable the County Council to respond to BT by the deadline which expires on 5th November 2019. This could also include the community or town council’s wish to adopt the a kiosk for £1 with guidance as set out in the link here: https://btbusiness.custhelp.com/euf/assets/pdf/payphones/AdoptaKioskFaqs.pdf?noIntercept/1.
Reponses should be sent to Planning@monmouthshire.gov.uk or Planning, County Hall, Rhadyr, Usk NP15 1GA and for my attention.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Thomas MRTPI

Development Services Manager / Rheolwr Gwasanaethau Datblygu
Monmouthshire County Council / Cyngor Sir Fynwy
Tel / ffôn: 01633 64 (4809)
Mobile / symudol: 07833961080
Email / ebost: philipthomas@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Chief Planning Officer
Monmouthshire County Council
Planning Department
PO Box 106
Caldicot
NP26 9AN

07 August 2019

TIME SENSITIVE - 90 Day Consultation period end date: 5 November 2019

Dear Chief Planning Officer,

Further to our previous letter, we are writing to you as part of a formal consultation process regarding our current programme of intended public payphone removals. This letter formally starts our consultation with you and the local community.

There are currently 17 public payphones in your area which have been identified and proposed for removal by BT under the 90-day consultation process and details of these payphones are shown below.

To ensure that the local community are fully informed, we have placed consultation notices on the relevant payphones, and a sample notice is enclosed. We have also included the date we posted these notices on the payphones. The consultation period will close on 5 November 2019. Unless you contact us to agree otherwise, responses received after this date will not be accepted.

This consultation process gives your local communities the opportunity to adopt a traditional red ‘heritage’ phone box and make them an asset that local people can enjoy. It’s really simple to do and it costs just £1 -
http://bt.com/adopt

Overall use of payphones has declined by over 90 per cent in the last decade and the need to provide payphones for use in emergency situations is diminishing all the time, with at least 98 per cent of the UK having either 3G or 4G coverage. This is important because as long as there is network coverage, it’s now possible to call the emergency services, even when there is no credit or no coverage from your own mobile provider.

You may also want to consider the recent Ofcom affordability report which found that most people do not view payphones as essential for most consumers in most circumstances -
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/affordability/affordability_report.pdf
On the 14th March 2006 the Office of Communications (Ofcom) published a statement following their 2005 review of universal service in the Telecommunications market, which includes a requirement for payphone provision to meet reasonable needs. Part of that statement amended our obligations with regard to the removal of payphone service https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/34266/statement.pdf

As stated in Ofcom’s 2005 review, it is the responsibility of the local authority to initiate its own consultation process to canvas the views of the local community. They would normally expect these consultations to involve other public organisations such as the Parish or Community councils and work within the terms of the Communications Act 2003. This means that you must be able to objectively justify your decisions.

Full guidance on the removal process can be viewed at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/uso/statement/removals.pdf
and a summary is available at:
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/uso/statement/removing_callboxes.pdf

The guidance also details the appeals process we must follow in case of unreasonable objections.

What you need to do next

Please complete and return the attached annex with your decision on each payphone.

If the decision is that the local community wish to ‘adopt’, please provide their contact details and we’ll do the rest.

If you wish to ‘object’, you’ll need to complete the last column with your reasons, having reviewed all of the factors set out in Annex 1 of Ofcom’s guidance (see link above), and the information sent to you in our previous letter.

If the information is incomplete for any payphone in the list, then we’ll assume you have no objection to its removal and also that you do not wish to adopt it.

The best way to respond to us is by email at btp.authorisation.team@bt.com. Please retain proof that the email was sent or apply a read receipt. If you would prefer to respond by post please use the following address and allow at least two days for postal delivery:

BT Payphones
pp 4th Floor Monument TE
11 – 13 Great Tower Street
London
EC3R 5AQ

You will need to obtain proof of postage from your local post office and be aware that we are unable to receive mail that requires a signature.

If you’ve got any questions then please get in touch with us by emailing btp.authorisation.team@bt.com.

Yours sincerely

Rick Thompson
Payphone Planning Officer
Monmouthshire

Telephone Number Address Post Code Number of calls in last 12 months Posting Completed Date Agree/ Adopt/ Object Comments/Reasons
1 01291420311 PCO PCO1 GREEN LANE CALDICOT NP26 4HB 0 01/08/2019
2 01291420383 PCO PCO1 CAERWENT CALDICOT NP26 5BB 0 01/08/2019
3 01291420385 PCO PCO1 TREWEN ROAD CAERWENT CALDICOT NP26 5PA 1 01/08/2019
4 01291420411 PCO PCO1 CAEMAWR AVENUE CALDICOT NP26 4HA 4 01/08/2019
5 01291420712 PCO PCO1 FIVE LANES CAERWENT CALDICOT NP26 5PE 0 01/08/2019
6 01291622205 PCO PCO1 THORNWELL ROAD BULWARK CHEPSTOW NP16 5AA 150 01/08/2019
7 01291624774 PCO PCO1 BULWARK ROAD BULWARK CHEPSTOW NP16 5JN 260 01/08/2019
8 01291629819 NR ROUNDABOUT PCO1 DENBIGH DRIVE THORNWELL CHEPSTOW NP16 5TY 26 01/08/2019
9 01291650211 PCO THE BEECH TREE CORNER LLANGWM USK NP15 1HJ 0 01/08/2019
10 01291689342 689342 THE COTTAGE ST. ARVANS CHEPSTOW NP16 6HL 0 01/08/2019

Telephone Number Address Post Code Number of calls in last 12 months Posting Completed Date Agree/ Adopt/ Object Comments/Reasons
11 01495785259 PCO PCO1 GLASCOED PONTYPOOL NP4 0TZ 0 01/08/2019
12 01600712310 PCO PCO1 MONNOW STREET MONMOUTH NP25 3EQ 557 01/08/2019
13 01600715368 O/S 1-6 BUCHANAN CLOSE PCO1 BUCHANAN CLOSE MONMOUTH NP25 5EL 44 01/08/2019
14 01873830409 PCO PCO1 PENLLWYN ESTATE LLANELLY HILL ABERGAVENNY NP7 0PY 0 31/07/2019
15 01873852460 PCO PCO1 PARK CRESCENT ABERGAVENNY NP7 5TH 0 31/07/2019
16 01873852592 OPPOSITE WALNUT TREE INN PCO1 LLANDDEWI SKIRRID ABERGAVENNY NP7 8AW 4 31/07/2019
17 01873890120 STANTON VILLAGE PCO1 LLANVIHANGEL CRUCORNEY ABERGAVENNY NP7 7NB 0 31/07/2019

Signature: ………………………………………..
Area: Monmouthshire