Fight to save village's phone box
By David LennardRESIDENTS have launched a campaign to stop a public telephone box at a rural railway station from being removed.BT has announced a programme of removing telephone boxes that are not used on a regular basis.
By David Lennard
RESIDENTS have launched a campaign to stop a public telephone box at a rural railway station from being removed.
BT has announced a programme of removing telephone boxes that are not used on a regular basis.
It blamed the move on the increasing use of mobile telephones and said it was not economic to keep many public telephone kiosks operational.
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One of the boxes under threat is the red telephone kiosk next to the Half Way Café on the A12 at Darsham, near Saxmundham.
It is also the only public phone available to passengers arriving at the nearby Darsham railway station, on the East Suffolk line between Ipswich and Lowestoft.
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Members of Darsham Parish Council were concerned about the possible loss of the public payphone and wrote to BT about the issue.
Parish council chairman, Ron Reeve, said: "We felt that a public telephone is essential at this location as it serves the railway station as well as being next to the A12.
"The parish council also put up notices in the area warning local residents of the possible loss of the phone box and a number of people are supporting us in trying to keep it operational."
Janet Gershlick, from Southwold, regularly uses Darsham railway station and was horrified that the phone box could be removed.
"BT has to realise that not everyone has a mobile phone and very often there are only a few people getting off trains at Darsham, especially those services late at night," she said.
"It is then that elderly people or youngsters might need to get in touch with family or friends and there is no other phone box for miles around.
"This is about more than simple economics. Not having a public telephone available at a rural railway station could lead to someone being left in a dangerous and frightening situation."
Staff at the Half Way Café have been distributing letters for members of the public concerned about the loss of the phone box to sign and send to Suffolk Coastal District Council.
A spokesman for the district council said about 75 letters from members of the public had been received so far.
A spokesman for BT Payphones said no final decision had been taken on the future of the Darsham kiosk.