Opposition has been voiced against the removal of a BT public telephone box.
Monmouth Town Council’s people and places committee voiced their opposition to the possibility of BT removing the public phone box at the bottom of Monnow Street, near Monnow Bridge.
Cllr Richard Roden said: “The phone IS used and located in an area where some people may not have access to phones and as such is benefit to them.”
Chair of the committee Cllr Terry Christopher said that the payphone could be a vital life support if someone needed call the emergency services.
The issue was previously reviewed by MTC’s planning committee who said that a return to the old-world red phone box design would be more fitting for the area and the town.
Prior to the pandemic, the phone was used around 400 times a year, with it now only being used fewer than 100 times in the past 12 months.
Cllr Richard Roden recalled a neighbouring village which tried to change out their ‘modern’ BT phonebox for the older red design, which ended up taking them 25 years.
Given that BT are looking to remove the box, Cllr Roden said that switching out the design is likely to be difficult.
Cllr Christopher added: “I think the best way forward is to write to BT and urge how important this phone box is as part of the town.”
Whilst the people and places committee largely agreed on the issue, polling from Beacon’s readers was a little more divided. Only 46.7 per cent agreed that it was worth keeping the phone box at the bottom of Monnow St with 36.7 per cent saying it wasn’t.
With mobile phones in such common use, many might consider the idea of a public telephone box redundant. Most mobile phones even have to ability to dial the emergency services without the caller having to ever unlock the phone.
Business data company Stastica said that in 2019, there were 80.97 million mobile subscriptions in the UK, across the entire population of 66.8 million residents.
Most mobile phone users are smartphone users, with the number of smartphones expected to reach 93.7 percent by 2025.
Since the decline of the use of public phone boxes, many have been given alternative uses, such as miniature libraries or—as is the case with the phone boxes near Shire Hall—defibrillators, for use in emergencies.