BT get an earful over local phone books issue is a
headline in to day's Berwickshire news and the story goes on:
wanting to ring Berwick numbers will either have to hold on to their old phone books or dial directory enquiries because the new Borders directories currently being delivered do not have Berwick numbers listed any more. For years BT have recognised the cross-border nature of the area and listed most Berwickshire and north Northumberland numbers in both directories but in the 2005/06 directory they have excluded the majority of Berwick numbers from the Borders book, much to the annoyance of Berwickshire residents and a number of Berwick businesses, who depend on customers coming from Berwickshire. "Berwick is the main shopping town for us," said one Auchencrow resident, "but now we can't even find their numbers in the telephone book, its ridiculous." Even our own Tweeddale Press head office in Berwick has been left out of the Borders phone book, a situation described by managing director Stuart Birkett as "not very convenient to say the least". "There are a lot of people up in arms about it," agreed a Coldstream resident, who was even more frustrated when trying to contact BT about it and found he had to go through numerous automated recordings before finding out he would have to pay if he wanted a Northumberland directory with the Berwick numbers in it. BT say they have tried to cut out duplication in the new directories but no further explanation has so far been forthcoming. "There are endless problems with this but this is just ludicrous," said Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP Euan Robson. "This is just gross incompetence. How on earth a telephone directory can be produced when the major economic focus of an area is excluded defeats me. "There is so much cross border contact there is a case for combining the Borders and Northumberland directories, when you look at the size of the Edinburgh directory compared to the Borders. "This isn't without precedent unfortunately - last year we had a problem with some people living west of Hawick being issued with south west Scotland directories. "I will be contacting BT immediately and the minister for Scottish Public Affairs and asking them to reprint it or I will refer the matter to the industry regulator OFCOM." Cross border confusion in the Berwick/Berwickshire area is nothing new. Three years ago Paxton, Hutton, Foulden, Mordington and Fishwick residents took BT to task when the only telephone directory they were given was the Northumberland book and they were told they would have to pay £10 for a Border directory. However, last summer Foulden, Mordington and Lamberton Community Council were eventually issued with a bundle of Borders books for councillors to deliver to residents wanting them. This time BT have recognised that these small settlements near the border are in fact in Scotland not England and included them in the new Border directory despite their Berwick dialling codes but as yet no 2005/06 Borders directories have been delivered in that area."
BT can't get it right as described above-many of our friends thought Huttonian was ex-directory as no one of his name was in the Borders Phone Book-but all the time there he was a large as life in Hutton found only in the Northumberland directory. Its the same with our TD15 postcode-it is assumed that TD 15 is in England as that is the Berwick code-no laughing matter as insurance companies apply urban rates of insurance premiums to the Berwickshire rural areas with their very low crime rates but share the TD 15 code area. The idea that we should be given our own code of TD16 has been rejected by the Post Office as too logical or something and they won't do it. We are purely (excluding Berwick) a rural area and with only a handful of subscribers so it is not in anyone's interest to keep us happy. Another drawback to the bucolic existence.