Council slams BT over issues with vandalized phone boxes Brighton News

CRIME and anti-social behavior linked to broken and vandalized telephone boxes could prompt Brighton and Hove City Council to issue BT ‘community protection notices’.

Green council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty has written to BT threatening to take action against the phone company if it fails to ‘tackle this scourge’.

Failure to comply with a “Community Protection Notice” (CPN) is a criminal offense and can lead to an unlimited fine for a business.

Cllr Mac Cafferty has written BT twice in just over a month after the response to his first letter was “disappointing”.

In a letter last week, he said a number of former BT phone boxes “continue to be prime targets for all sorts of anti-social and criminal behaviour”.

The Argus: Old Steine ​​Phone Booth was one of many that were damagedThe Old Steine ​​telephone booth is one of many that were damaged

He wrote: ‘I would have thought removing the phones would be a priority for the BT business to save valuable time and money, rather than having to deal with them on a regular basis, given the appalling state they find themselves in.

“I would also have thought that the poor public relations you are suffering from following the wave of phone vandalism in Brighton and Hove would have encouraged quicker action.

“Ofcom’s Universal Service Obligation states that BT must ‘provide a reasonable number of functional telephone boxes where they are most needed’, but BT does not appear to support this aim with vandal-free telephones.

“One of the phones has been switched to ’emergency calls only’.”

The Argus: BT urged to take action against vandalized phone boxesBT has been urged to take action against vandalized phone boxes

BT is currently installing “street hubs” across the city, offering fast charging, wifi, a dedicated 999 button, free phone calls and touchscreen tablets.

Cllr Mac Cafferty said: ‘BT’s behavior on this means I am regretfully filled with dread with the new high street hubs popping up in the city.

“We have been informed that these will have a fortnightly maintenance program to tackle anti-social behaviour, including graffiti. Why can’t BT make this commitment to the rest of your property?

“I am committed to tidying up our wonderful city, but I must be clear: our environmental enforcement team will send you and others community protection notices to fight this scourge where it is. is identified.

“I urge you to take this opportunity to work with the city council. Reconsider and prioritize removing the phone boxes highlighted in my letter along with others in Brighton and Hove.

“Prevent board officials from issuing EICs and allow them to proactively focus on new and emerging issues.

“Avoid BT’s attention being used repeatedly to respond to issued CPNs. Otherwise, we will have no choice but to issue CPNs.

The Argus: Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty raised the issue with BTCouncil leader Phelim Mac Cafferty raised the issue with BT

Gary Farmer, a resident of Old Steine, has repeatedly lobbied the council over vandalized phone boxes in central Brighton.

In an email to Cllr Mac Cafferty last month, Mr Farmer said: ‘In the town center we continue to have 33 vandalized kiosks used for drugs, urination, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

“Why are they still there? It’s 2022, not 1977. Public phone booths should be in a museum, not on our streets. Have you ever used one in the last 25 years? »

When told of BT’s commitment to maintain the new street hubs fortnightly, Mr Farmer said: “Every two weeks they will be cleaned? And the telephone terminals?

“These are now in place and I expect them to be grated quickly in line with the general neglect of the city.

“It’s a cycle of decay and vandalism that can only be solved by removing phone kiosks from the landscape. No one uses them to make calls, as is clearly the case in the city centre.

The Argus: BT is currently installing street hubs in the cityBT is currently installing street hubs in the city

After a public consultation last year, BT said it was scrapping 14 telephone boxes in Brighton and Hove.

But the list did not include any of the vandalized boxes at Old Steine ​​or any others in the center of Brighton.

BT said the company removed payphones based on how often they were used and whether there was another box nearby.

In Brighton and Hove, the focus has been on removing low-use payphones and installing street hubs, he said.

BT added: “We are in ongoing dialogue with the local council about our plans to upgrade the street estate in the area.

“In order to install a street concentrator in place of a public telephone, the local authority will have to approve the planning application.

“Currently, to remove a payphone where there are no other public payphones within a 400m walk, BT must consult and obtain permission from the local authority.”

BT said people were encouraged to report phone boxes in need of repair or cleaning.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-15 05:14:00

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