Page last updated at 08:22 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Locals rescue rural phone boxes

Three rural phone boxes in south east Cornwall have been saved after a campaign by local people.

The red BT boxes at Crumplehorn, Trenewen and Talland Bay were earmarked for closure because of underuse.

But the telecommunications giant backed down after complaints from local people.

Local MP Colin Breed backed the campaign, along with TV presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan, who have a home in the Talland area.

'Essential service'

BT initially told the local council it could pay 500 to keep the box operating or 1 to keep the box, without a phone.

But Polperro Parish Council said neither was acceptable and rallied support to keep the boxes.

Local councillor Erica Gregory said the boxes were an essential community service.

"If someone had an accident or needs a taxi there is a terrific social need for the phone boxes.

"The only mobile phone service is Orange so if you don't have that, you are stuck.

"We are very pleased with BT deciding not to close the boxes."

BT said that if it wanted to remove a phone box and there was not another one within 400 metres it had to consult the local authority.

If councillors, in consultation with locals, decided there was a social need for the box, then BT would not remove it.

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