TEN phone boxes in South Lakeland are set to close with 15 more under consultation, in a move which has divided opinion among members of the public.

Payphones affected include four in Kendal and one in Milnthorpe.

A BT spokesman said the decision had been made following a period of public consultation facilitated by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC).

“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,” he said.

“We consider a number of factors before consulting on the removal of payphones, including whether others are available nearby and usage.”

A number of phone boxes will remain open, including the one at Ulverston railway station following pressure from the town council.

Now, the existence of a further 15 boxes is being considered in a second consultation, with opinion about the potential closures divided.

Michael Johnson, clerk of Lakes Parish Council, felt the boxes, particularly in more remote areas, could prove invaluable in a situation where someone did not have access to a mobile phone.

He said: “Lots of these villages and valleys - there are a tremendous number of second homes. So you can’t guarantee that there’s going to be a member of the local population there in an emergency, so these phone boxes can be a lifeline.”

Included in the list of 15 currently under consultation is one by Waterhead Pier, Ambleside, which has had 80 calls made from it in the past 12 months. Mr Johnson felt the figure was enough to “justify leaving the box.”

However, Lakes Parish councillor Philip Thompson said: “If they are not being used they are not much good. Everybody’s got a mobile phone now.

He added: “It would be better if they remained open but you can’t expect a company to run something that nobody’s using.”

The full list of boxes closing is: Kearstwick, Carnforth; Newton-in-Cartmel; Lindale - opposite police station; Grange - Allithwaite Road; Hale - opposite Kings Arms; Milnthorpe - near Church Street crossroads; Kendal - Sandylands Road, Hayclose Road, Castle Grove; and Bonning Gate, near Carus Green Golf Club.

Two more - at Ings and on Kentmere Road, Staveley - are also threatened by closure. However, these boxes and 11 others are being considered for ‘adoption’, which means they could be taken over by the community and remain open, potentially with a different function, such as housing a defibrillator or displaying artwork.

Visit cumbria.citizenspace.com/consultation_finder/ to contribute to the current consultation on 15 phone boxes in South Lakeland.