Under-threat phone boxes’ future in the hands of local authorities

The phone box at Cregneash

The phone box at Cregneash

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Manx Telecom is leaving the future of six traditional red phone boxes in the hands of local authorities.

A 60-day notice that they were under review expired on December 16.

They are located in Derbyhaven, Laxey, Maughold, Patrick, Cregneash and Santon.

Guidelines agreed with the island’s Communications Commission state that if annual revenue of a payphone falls below £10, the unit may be removed.

The minimum cost of a phone call from a box is 30p, so they must have been used fewer than 33 times in a year.

Manx Telecom’s marketing director David Smith said the company was providing two clear options for local authorities and other interested local organisations which may wish to keep any of the six public payphones in their area.

The first option is that a local authority may choose to support the ongoing maintenance of a payphone and kiosk for a fixed annual fee of £300 per year.

The second was that some authorities might wish to maintain the kiosk (without the payphone) as a stand-alone structure. In this instance Manx Telecom would sell the kiosk in-situ at a nominal price with responsibility for the kiosk passing to the buyer.

Mr Smith said: ‘We are currently exploring whether either option would be of interest with the appropriate local authorities and interested organisations.

‘Even if no local authority, or other recognised organisation, elected to adopt the kiosks and the six units were subsequently removed, there would still be 111 public payphones remaining around the island, 76 of which are housed in the traditional red kiosks.

‘While we will continue to review the whole payphone estate annually and give notice to remove little used units, we don’t envisage a day when the island has no red kiosks. They are part of Manx Telecom’s heritage after all.

‘To be fair and equitable to all areas, it will be the payphones that are used the most that will continue to be maintained by Manx Telecom.’

If local authorities or any other interested parties do not wish to choose one of the two options for the six phone boxes under review, then they will be removed by Manx Telecom.

No decision has yet been made as to what would be done with the phone boxes if they are removed.

However, in the past some phone boxes have been sold, and others provided for charity auctions.

Click here to read a recent story on the issue.

{http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/time-called-on-iconic-red-phone-boxes-in-isle-of-man-1-6258827|And click here to read how we originally broke the news.]

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