PARISH councils and residents in a string of isolated villages are celebrating following a decision by British Telecom to save 27 kiosks.

The dramatic change of heart follows campaigns by Ryedale District Council, North Yorkshire County Council, Ryedale MP John Greenway and parish councils.

They said that to take out the traditional red-painted kiosks would cause severe hardship to many communities, especially in remote rural areas.

Terry Johnson, commercial manager for BT Payphones, said he accepted that objectors "have raised valid concerns with our proposals".

"I am therefore removing the proposed removals from our programme with immediate effect."

Mr Johnson said 16 "very low revenue" kiosks would be converted to payphones on what he described as a "basic cashless service".

The U-turn came after Mr Johnson met council officials.

Ryedale District Council chairman Councillor Brian Maud, said the news was "very welcome".