Plea to save village phone kiosk

Councillor Robbie Withey and MP Andrew Bowie at the phone box in Monymusk
Councillor Robbie Withey and MP Andrew Bowie at the phone box in Monymusk

Local politicians and residents are urging BT bosses to rethink the removal of a village phone box.

Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford Councillor Robbie Withey, backed by Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett and West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie, are campaigning to protect the traditional red box in Monymusk. More than 100 residents have also signed the letter.

BT is consulting on the future of red phone boxes across the country.

In a letter, the Scottish Conservative politicians outline the “historic look and feel” of the village.

The practical value of the phone line in a community that is often subject to “digital blackouts” is also raised as a reason for maintaining the box.

The letter states: “Monymusk is recognised throughout the region for its traditional, picturesque appeal and is visited by many tourists as a result.

“The village square remains almost unchanged from how it would have been many years ago.

“In the modern era, when we are losing so many historic villages to new housing estates, it is important to protect settings like that in Monymusk.”

A BT spokesperson said: “Most people now have a mobile phone and calls made from our public telephones have fallen by around 90 per cent in the past decade. We consider a number of factors before consulting on the removal of payphones, including whether others are available nearby and usage.

“In the Aberdeenshire area, we have made 30 applications to remove payphones. As part of the consultation, we are also offering communities the chance to adopt traditional red ‘heritage’ phone boxes for just £1 through our Adopt a Kiosk scheme.”