Residents in a village near Market Rasen are warning lives could be in danger after their public telephone box was ‘ripped’ out.
Holton le Moor is a mobile ‘not spot’ and there are concerns that with the public telephone gone, delays may happen in an emergency.
The warning comes after a life-saving defibrillator - which relies on a telephone for access - was recently fitted in the village.
Resident Bob Tubman told the Rasen Mail: “We have had some RTAs in the village and there are health issues amongst the users of the Moot Hall (village hall), reflecting the general demographic of the village.
“The Moot Hall committee recently had a defibrillator fitted to the building after a couple of medical emergencies.
“A telephone is needed to gain access to the defibrillator code - if no signal is available then the risk increases exponentially.”
The traditional red telephone box was sited on Market Rasen Road, not far from the Moot Hall, and was something villagers were keen to retain, both for its practical use and its architectural character within a conservation area.
Recently, BT supplied paint so volunteers George and Philippa Fleetwood could refurbish the box; BT also cleaned up and replaced some glass.
Resident Gillian Bennett said: “We would happily have paid to retain the box as a structure for the village if we knew its removal was imminent, but we had not seen any notice to that effect.
“Surely, an area like ours, where the landline is not very good due to extremely old cabling, plus the fact we are officially a mobile ‘not spot’, is exactly where a telephone box needs to be retained.
“Even if it is rarely used, the times it is likely to be needed are going to be emergency situations where connection is not available by other means.
“The telephone box is a lifeline that has been ripped out of the heart of the village.”
Statistics from BT show the payphone had received zero calls in the previous 12 months.
A spokesperson for BT said: “The payphone on Market Rasen Road in Holton le Moor has been removed as part of our review of payphones that we believe are no longer needed.
“Our payphone consultation follows a strict process that is set out by Ofcom.
“A notice was placed inside the kiosk to inform the public of our plans to remove the payphone. We also contacted the local authority, (WLDC) who informed us they had no objection to it being removed.
“As part of the same consultation across West Lindsey, nine communities indicated they’d like to adopt their local red telephone box. And seven phone boxes were taken out of the consultation after we received an objection from the district and/or parish council.”
Clerk to the village’s Parish Meeting, Rachel Gibbons told the Rasen Mail they had been in conversation with West Lindsey District Council for some time about the telephone box.
She added: “In October, I was told that WLDC were ‘on the case’ but that there had been little communication or action from BT.
“WLDC assured me that they would contact us should this situation change - unfortunately, they did not.
“Way back in 2009, our then Chairman, Mr Tony Pywell, wrote to WLDC indicating the need to retain the phone box. Our wishes have been ignored.”
The Rasen Mail contacted WLDC for a comment, but no response was received by the time we went to print.