WEST DORSET communities are being offered a last chance to adopt a BT phone box, or object to their removal.

The company has extended the consultation about the planned removal of more than 20 public red phone boxes from throughout the area.

BT says that overall the use of payphones has declined by 90 per cent over the last ten years and almost the entire area is now covered by a reasonable mobile phone signal. Even in places where there is no measurable signal a 999 call should still work.

Although the traditional red boxes are being decommissioned local communities are being offered the chance to adopt theirs for a nominal £1. In some areas they are used for book swaps, for public notices, or just retained and decorated with flowers.

Among those who have already asked to adopt their local phone box is Puncknowle and Swyre parish council which would like to adopt phone boxes at Church Street, Puncknowle and Bull Lane at Swyre. Chesil Bank parish says it would like to take on the box at Coryates.

Many of the payphones proposed for closure are in villages and hamlets with records showing they have not been used at all in the past year, or used very little.

A new round of consultation for the 23 West Dorset phone boxes will continue until October 7th. A previous consultation, which has now ended, involved around 70 boxes.

BT say they have placed consultation notices on all the phone boxes which might be affected and also notified Dorset Council and the relevant local parish or town council.

Those areas where a consultation is taking place can object or agree the proposed removal, and/or take steps to adopt a phone box. The adoption process is not limited to councils and can be undertaken by community groups.

The full list of boxes which might be affected – Drimpton Road, Broadwindsor; Clay Lane, Beaminster; Wayleave, Whitchurch Canonicorum; A35 Chideock; Askerswell; Long Bredy; Litton Cheney; near Puncknowle Church; Bull Inn, Swyre; Putton Lane, Chickerell; Coryates; Martinstown; Bride Valley Motors, Winterbourne Abbas; Up Sydling; Newton Road, Maiden Newton; Dorchester Road, Stratton; Maud Road, Dorchester; Fordington Cross, Dorchester; Rectory Road, Piddlehinton; Wightmans Orchard, Piddletrenthide; telephone exchange, Buckland Newton; Crouch Lane, Sherborne and Sandford Orcas.