Phone box, Isle of Wight Steam Railway

A plea to ‘save our village phone boxes’ has been issued following the news dozens are set to be scrapped.

Following a consultation via the Isle of Wight Council on plans to remove 16 phone boxes across the Island, BT has now confirmed 11 will be taken away.

Three have been saved following public opposition, and two could be ‘adopted’ by community groups.

In one year, 781 calls were made from the 16 phone boxes. Two of them, in Fishbourne Lane and Alum Bay, were not used at all.

Bembridge Phone Box

BT has an obligation to provide a reasonable number of working phone boxes but said six out of ten were losing money.

A further consultation has been launched to remove another 26 boxes, including four in Sandown and three in Newport, Cowes and Freshwater.

Two of the boxes earmarked for removal are in Niton. They have been used 33 times in the past year, and resident Neil Hollis has urged people to help save them.

He said:

“Sometimes the reception is not great on mobiles and we get a lot of visitors — if they need to ring someone, or call a taxi, we need our phone boxes.

“Please save our village phone boxes.”

A BT spokesperson said:

“Most people now have a mobile phone and calls made from our public telephones have fallen by around 90 per cent in the past decade.

“We consider a number of factors before consulting on the removal of payphones, including usage and whether others are available nearby.

“As part of the consultation, we are also offering communities the chance to adopt traditional red ‘heritage’ phone boxes for just £1 and transform them into something inspirational for their local area.”

Bembridge is home to a K1 classic box – known to be one of the oldest still working in the country.

The consultation runs until February 12. Comments can be made by emailing [email protected]