FIVE Saddleworth phone boxes remain on a BT hit list to be removed after a successful fight to save an iconic kiosk in Uppermill.
Greenfield will be worst affected with the potential loss of three boxes as well as Denshaw and Springhead losing one apiece under BT proposals.
The planned disposal of the boxes comes due to underuse and the proliferation of mobile handsets.
BT launched their public consultation on September 1, immediately triggering opposition from Uppermill residents to the removal of the telephone box outside Saddleworth Museum.
Last month, the Independent reported how Uppermill Community Association joined forces with Oldham and Saddleworth Parish Councillor, Nikki Kirkham, to save the High Street kiosk.
The remaining five on Ripponden Road in Denshaw, Cooper Street in Springhead, and Shaw Hall Bank Road, Chew Valley Road – at the top of Wellington Road – and Carr Lane, all Greenfield, haven’t yet found any potential saviours. But there is still time if there is similar public groundswell of opinion.
Our pictures show the boxes on Ripponden Road and Carr Lane are of the traditional, popular red design.
The rest are more modern in appearance, including Cooper Street which has no door!
Following the decommissioning of a traditional kiosk outside the King Williams IV pub, Greenfield’s last remaining red, working box is outside the Clarence Hotel. There are no immediate plans to take it out of service.
Oldham Council has now launched its own consultation with the public having until November 3 to raise objections. To do so residents should email: email@example.com
BT state they will not remove boxes where there is objection from the local authority.
Alternatively, they offer community groups a chance to ‘adopt-a-kiosk’ scheme for just £1 if the boxes are decommissioned.
A spokesman for BT said: “BT is committed to providing a public pay phone service, but with usage declining by over 90% in the last decade, we’ve continued to review and remove pay phones which are no longer needed.
“Any removal of pay phones is carried out in strict adherence to the Ofcom guidelines and, where appropriate, with the consent of local authorities.
“In all instances where there’s no other pay phone within 400 metres, we’ll ask for consent from the local authority to remove the pay phone.
“Where we receive objections from the local authority, we won’t remove the pay phone.”
Oldham Planning Department recently posted details of their consultation process in the relevant boxes.
They are then obliged to publish a draft report confirming if they consent or object to the removal of EACH box.
A copy is forwarded to the Secretary of State and to “such persons as it considers appropriate.” Objectors are asked to “be very clear about the reasons for doing so.”