Panorama restored after ugly phonebox removed

Robin Hayter
Robin Hayter

AN EYESORE BT phone box which was left damaged and unusable for more than a year has finally been removed .

The British Telecom box in Priory Road, West Hill had been out of order since October 2012 when it was knocked over by a lorry.

It was left at an angle and then fell foul of graffiti vandals.

Resident Robin Hayter, aged 54,of Priory Road, first complained to the council in December 2012 as the area attracts a number of tourists during the summer months.

BT engineers removed the offending box before Christmas.

The use of phone boxes across the UK has rapidly declined since the advent of mobile phones in the past 20 years.

It has been reported that thousands of the boxes were sold to private buyers in the mid-1980s.

Since 2008 a further 1,800 have been sold to local communities for just £1 each through BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme.

This has seen boxes transformed into art galleries, public libraries, exhibitions, information centres and fitted with life-saving defibrillation machines.

Now just 11,000 of the 51,500 public kiosks remain as traditional red boxes.

Mr Hayter, who works as a film-maker, said: “It took more than a year to get the phone box moved.

“But I was proud to have seen action that I took resulting in not only cooperation from councillor Lee Clark but moral support to boot.

“I approached the council at the beginning of December 2012. Now we’ve got our lovely panorama back with the phone box ruining it.”

BT states on its Adopt a Phonebox website: ‘The red telephone box is a British design classic.

‘And many of these iconic boxes, as well as more modern boxes are getting a new lease of life as part of our innovative Adopt a Kiosk programme.

‘This gives towns and villages up and down the country the chance to do something useful with their phone box.

‘Some of the projects already underway have really helped bring local people closer together – providing a focal point for the community.’

The red telephone box, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, was introduced in 1920 and is a familiar sight on the streets of the United Kingdom, Malta, Bermuda and Gibraltar. Despite a reduction in their numbers in recent years, the box can still be seen in many places throughout the UK.

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