UUP fight for retention of phone box

At the BT Phone Box at Mill Hill, Waringstown are, Marc Woods, Cllr Colin McCusker, Cllr George Savage, Sam Gardiner, MLA, Eddie Nimmons and Stephen Harrison. INLM17-100gc
At the BT Phone Box at Mill Hill, Waringstown are, Marc Woods, Cllr Colin McCusker, Cllr George Savage, Sam Gardiner, MLA, Eddie Nimmons and Stephen Harrison. INLM17-100gc
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ULSTER Unionists are calling on Craigavon council to give their backing to the retention of the phone box on the Mill Hill in Waringstown.

BT were asked to explore the removal of the phone box and have contacted the council to seek their views on the removal, due to low usage and vandalism

The phone box has repeatedly been a target for vandals over the years and low usage is also a concern.

Members of the Ulster Unionist Party held a meeting with BT officials on site last Friday, and within a matter of hours the phone box had a complete makeover.

Councillor George Savage stressed that while the vast majority of people in the modern age had their own mobile phone, payphones were still needed by some, and by others in an emergency.

He said: “Many years ago, I campaigned to have this phone box installed in Waringstown, and it was a hard-fought battle.

“While I fully appreciate technology has moved on in recent years, there is always a need for a public payphone in such a busy village as Waringstown.

“New technology is all well and good, but mobile phone batteries run out, and mobile networks crash. In instances such as this, the phone box is a lifeline for anyone who needs to get in touch with someone. I appreciate the location may no longer be appropriate, but before anything is removed, it is vital that a new location is found for the phone box.”

Councillor Colin McCusker said it was wrong to make the decision based on vandalism.

He stressed that if the Mill Hill location isn’t found to be suitable, an alternative should be found,

“Once again we see decisions being taken because of vandalism. Is it right that this service be removed from Waringstown because a small minority indulge in unacceptable behaviour?

“I believe BT needs to upgrade this phone box and move it to a more suitable location in the village close to existing services.

“It’s very easy to say usage is low, but if a telephone box is not kept up to a required standard, it won’t be used.

“We have been lobbied by locals who are concerned at the removal of this phone box, and we are doing all that we can to ensure the telephone box is retained somewhere in the village.”