Appeal to save phonebox

Gillian Martin MSP with the defibrillator and phonebox outside Udny Station Community Centre
Gillian Martin MSP with the defibrillator and phonebox outside Udny Station Community Centre

MSP Gillian Martin has urged Aberdeenshire Council to ensure BT thinks again after it proposed the removal of its telephone box in an Aberdeenshire village.

The box in Udny Station is one of 106 rural telephone boxes in Aberdeenshire that BT are planning to remove.

Aberdeenshire Council have until Monday, November 28 to send back objections to the BT plan.

Residents of the village near Ellon, have recently installed a defibrillator on the wall of the community centre.

In order to use the life-saving equipment a code to open its box must first be obtained by calling 999 and asking for the ambulance service.

Mr William Grant, Chair of Foveran Community Council, contacted Ms Martin to highlight the patchy and variable mobile phone service in the area, which could render the defibrillator useless in precisely the emergency it was installed to cope with.

Commenting on the matter, Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin said: “While I understand that the telephone box is rarely used, and unlikely to be profitable, it is the only one for miles around.

“Given that the potentially life-saving defibrillator requires that a 999 call be made in order to gain access to the equipment, I have written to both BT and Aberdeenshire Council to urge a reconsideration of the proposed removal of the kiosk.

Ms Martin added: “The local community in Udny Station are to be commended for providing a defibrillator in case of emergency, it would be unacceptable if its use was to be limited for the lack of a phone box.”